In the opening salvo of the 2022 mid-term congressional elections, Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) today accused Republican Tom Kean, Jr. of abandoning his constituents during a pandemic by announcing that he won’t seek re-election to his Senate seat.
“Not running for re-election allows Kean to avoid hard questions from voters this year about what he and his party stand for, and to spend 2021 fundraising from the same dark money interests and corporations he relied on in his last campaign,” the Malinowski campaign said in a statement released on Monday.
Kean, the minority leader of the New Jersey Senate, challenged Malinowski in New Jersey’s 7th district in 2020 and lost by a narrow 5,311 votes, 50.6% to 49.4%.
“He is again dodging the responsibility to lead his party away from conspiracy-mongering extremists, because taking that tough stand doesn’t advance his political career,” the Malinowski campaign alleged. “In his desperation to move up the political ladder, he’s doubling down on the cowardice that has kept him at the bottom of the ladder for so many years.”
In announcing his departure from the State Senate seat he’s held since 2003, Kean did not say if he would seek a rematch with Malinowski next year.
The Malinowski campaign accused Kean of wanting to “enjoy all the benefits of his last year in office without any of the accountability” and faulted Kean for remaining in office “just long enough to select members of the congressional redistricting commission, allowing him to pick his own voters and draw himself a map he can win.”
“That is self-serving and corrupt,” Malinowski said. “If Kean would rather serve himself than his voters, he should resign now, and let someone else do the work that he won’t.”
In contrast, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy issued a statement praising Kean’s service.
“When he leaves office next January, Tom Kean, Jr. will have represented his North and Central Jersey constituents for 20 years in both the State Senate and Assembly,” Murphy said. “He has ably carried on the legacy of service that runs deep in his family. We wish Tom all the best as he transitions out of the State House and to a new chapter.”