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Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean.

Kean wins big endorsements in Hunterdon

Eight countywide elected officials endorse Kean in bid to challenge Malinowski

By David Wildstein, December 04 2019 8:58 am

In a large show of organizational support in a county that makes up more than a quarter of Republican primary voters in New Jersey’s 7th district, eight countywide official from Hunterdon County have endorsed Tom Kean, Jr. for Congress.

Kean today picked up the backing of County Clerk Mary Melfi, Sheriff Fred Brown , Freeholders Suzanne Lagay, John Lanza, Matthew Holt, Shaun Van Doren and Susan Soloway, and Freeholder-elect Zach Rich in his bid to unseat Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill).

“Hunterdon County is the gold standard for operating a county government and I am honored to have the endorsement of these leaders,” said Kean. “I am committed to bringing New Jersey values to Washington and fighting on behalf of Hunterdon County.”

Hunterdon County GOP Chairman Patrick Torpey attended Kean’s announcement in April.

Kean, the Senate Minority Leader, faces three challengers in the Republican primary: Rosemary Becchi, a former U.S. Senate tax counsel; human resources executive Tom Phillips, and businessman Robert Trugman.

“Senator Kean is the best Republican candidate to take back this Congressional district,” said Melfi. “Hunterdon County deserves a Congressional representative that will fight for our values and I trust Senator Tom Kean to be that person.”

Brown praised Kean’s longtime support of law enforcement.

“Hunterdon County needs a leader like Senator Kean that will have the courage to stand up to liberal initiatives that aim to abolish ICE, create a sanctuary state and put our communities at risk,” said Brown.

Kean has raised nearly $1 million for his congressional bid, while Malinowski has taken in almost $1.78 million.

Becchi has spent $111,443 and has $276,629 cash-on-hand, according to her filing with the Federal Election Commission.  She loaned $100,050 to her campaign and additional in-kind contributions of $34,000.

Malinowski beat five-term incumbent Leonard Lance (R-Clinton Township) by 16,400 votes, 52%-47%, becoming the first Democrat to win the 7th district seat since 1956.

As a first-time candidate, Malinowski raised nearly $6.3 million – more than double what Lance raised.  Those totals do not include independent expenditures made for or against either candidate, or spending made by candidates’ political action committees.

The 7th district has 2,313 more Republicans than Democrats. Malinowski defeated Lance by a 52%-47% margin in 2018.

Hillary Clinton carried the district by 4,139 votes, 48%-47%, against Donald Trump in 2016.  Four years earlier, Mitt Romney won the 7th by 21,033 votes, 53%-47%, against Barack Obama.

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