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Former Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. meets with a Readington police officer on National Night Out 2022. (Photo: Kean for Congress).

PBA endorses Kean for a second time

Kean already received primary endorsement in May

By Joey Fox, August 15 2022 12:58 pm

The New Jersey Policemen’s Benevolent Association has endorsed former Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield)’s congressional bid for a second time this year; the police union had previously backed Kean in the Republican primary last spring.

Kean faces Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) in the 7th congressional district, in what has so far shaped up to be the state’s most hotly contested race this cycle.

“As the far left in Congress continue to push for laws to defund the police, to strip us of our qualified immunity protections and to make it harder to do our jobs, we know you will be a voice of reason and a vote to defend the men and women of law enforcement,” NJ PBA President Pat Colligan said in a letter to Kean. “But your years of honesty and loyalty to us have proved without question that you have the guts to challenge anyone who attacks the men and women of law enforcement.”

The PBA, one of the state’s most conservative unions, has never been a Malinowski fan. Kean got the union’s endorsement when he first challenged Malinowski in 2020, as did Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton) in his failed 2018 bid for re-election.

In 2020, the PBA backed former President Donald Trump and an all-Republican slate of congressional candidates, and Gov. Phil Murphy didn’t get their endorsement in 2021 – though neither did his opponent, Jack Ciattarelli.

But one Democrat has been able to break through with the PBA: Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff), the most moderate New Jersey Democrat in Congress. After staying out of Gottheimer’s 2020 re-election race, the PBA endorsed the North Jersey congressman this year, calling him a “fierce, loyal advocate for law enforcement.” 

The PBA has yet to make an endorsement in any other New Jersey races this cycle, including in the 3rd and 11th districts, where Reps. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) and Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) – both of whom were opposed by the PBA in 2020 – are running for re-election.

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