A new TV ad released today by Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) hits his Republican opponent, former Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield), on a now-familiar issue: abortion. The spot, “Ducked,” says Kean doesn’t support abortion access and won’t stand up to former President Donald Trump.
Script: (Town hall attendee): “I have a follow up on that. Do you support a woman’s right to choose, or no?”
(Narrator): “As a matter of fact, Tom Kean Jr. voted against New Jersey’s law protecting a woman’s right to choose. It gets worse. Now Kean supports an abortion ban overriding that protection. Tom Kean Jr. bragged he has Trump’s back, no matter what. Now we know the cost. Tom Kean Jr.: anti-choice, pro-Trump, no matter what.”
“Months ago Tom Kean Jr. told us he stands with Trump no matter what,” Malinowski campaign manager Brooke Zindulka said in a statement accompanying the ad. “Now he’s pushing abortion bans that would eliminate life saving healthcare for New Jersey women. Tom Kean Jr. has told us exactly who he is every step of the way – the anti-choice, pro-Trump candidate. New Jersey voters know that is too high a price to pay and will reject Tom Kean Jr. at the ballot box.”
Kean has described himself as pro-choice with exceptions, and his campaign explicitly told Gothamist just yesterday that he doesn’t support a national ban. Still, Kean did vote against the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act (FRCA) in one of his final votes as a state legislator, and he pledged on a semi-hidden page of his website to “protect the unborn from egregious abortion laws.”
Malinowski, New Jersey’s most vulnerable representative this year, has leaned heavily on abortion in his campaign, saying that Kean would hand Congress over to Republicans who cheered the fall of Roe v. Wade. He’s already aired one ad this cycle exclusively about abortion, hitting Kean in August for his votes on the FRCA and Planned Parenthood.
Trump, too, is a familiar specter in the 7th district. In their first contest in 2020, Malinowski repeatedly tied Kean to the unpopular Republican at the head of the ticket; Malinowski ended up winning that contest by one percentage point as Trump was losing the district by 10. The district was redrawn to be more Republican on the state’s new congressional map, but Malinowski’s advertising indicates abortion and Trump remain potent topics for Democrats all the same.