Home>Congress>Malinowski chides Kean for campaign tenor, hopes for Biden win in victory speech

Rep. Tom Malinowski. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

Malinowski chides Kean for campaign tenor, hopes for Biden win in victory speech

By Nikita Biryukov, November 04 2020 12:14 pm

In a somewhat muted virtual victory speech delivered Wednesday morning, Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) celebrated hi re-election while urging patience on the presidential race and slamming State Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean (R-Westfield) over the tenor of his campaign.

“Personally, this is even more gratifying than the first win in 2018,” he said. “Back then, voters were placing their trust in us because of the promises that I made. This time, they were making a judgement on how we kept those promises, on what we actually did in the last two years.”

Malinowski won his first term after ousting Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton Township) in 2018, reclaiming for Democrats a seat that Republicans had held since 1983.

In Kean, Malinowski found a challenger backed by national Republican money.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC with ties to House Republican leadership, and the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee put more than $4.3 into the race, mostly in negative TV ads trafficking a since-debunked claim that Malinowski lobbied against a federal sex offender registry created by a 2006 crime bill.

“We had to overcome a level of dishonesty and cynicism that was remarkable even in these dishonest and cynical times, and the worst part of it is the people who are responsible for it, they didn’t believe a single thing that they were saying,” Malinowski said. “They didn’t even believe it.”

Democratic groups responded in kind. The House Majority PAC, the Democratic counterpart to the Congressional Leadership Fund, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee put nearly $4.7 million behind Malinowski’s bid. That money most often went to ads tying Kean, a relatively moderate Republican state senator, to Trump.

Malinowski charged Kean’s campaign abandoned any pursuit of decency.

“To those people, politics is basically just a game in which you can say whatever you want as long as it puts up points on the board, and those people think if you are in politics because you believe in something, then you must be some kind of chump,” he said.

Despite advising the digital speech’s roughly 800 viewers to patiently await the results of the presidential race, Malinowski expressed optimism for a Biden win.

“If my instincts about where the presidential election is going are correct, we will be able to say that the American people voted to approve the Gateway Project this week,” he said.

But more than any one policy that a Biden administration might seek to enact, Malinowski was looking forward to a return of civility in the country’s politics.

“I think there’s some things even more fundamental that we all voted for, things that transcend partisan divisions, things that bring people together and that brought Republicans and Democrats together in New Jersey and all across America,” he said. “We voted for decency yesterday. We voted to say there is still a difference between fact and fiction in America, still a difference between moral right and moral wrong.”

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