Click play for audio version of this story
Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R-Westfield) has won a significant national endorsement from the highest-ranking House Republican in his bid to unseat freshman Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill) in New Jersey’s 7th district.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has issued a personal endorsement of Kean, something that sends a strong and early message to national donors whose financial support the New Jersey Republican is seeking.
Kean faces a primary challenge from Rosemary Becchi, a former U.S. Senate staffer and Washington lobbyist whose firm has raised money for the congressional Republicans,
“Tom Kean is the kind of leader that we need in Congress,” said McCarthy. “He is fully prepared to win a competitive general election and hit the ground running for the people of New Jersey. Tom Kean has my full support and endorsement.”
Malinowski, who ousted five-term Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton Township) in 2018, is at the top of Republican target lists as they seek a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.
There are 4,236 more Republicans than Democrats in the 7th, which supported Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election by a 48%-47% margin – a 4,139-vote plurality.
Malinowski raised $568,000 during the second quarter of 2019 and has $1,020,000 cash-on-hand. He raised $562,384 during his first three months as a congressman.
Kean, the son of former Gov. Tom Kean and a legislator since 2001, entered the race in April. He announced yesterday that he had already raised more than $500,000 for his bid to unseat Malinowski.
A poll released last month by the National Republican Congressional Committee, an unknown Republican later identified as Kean leads Malinowski 44%-42% — a statistically insignificant 2% margin.
As a first-time candidate, Malinowski raised nearly $6.3 million – more than double what Lance raised.
Kean raised nearly $7.9 million when he ran statewide in 2006.
“I am proud to have earned the support of Leader McCarthy,” Kean said. “We share a vision for this country that will foster a thriving economy and give our families security.”
Kean began his political career in the 7th as a legislative assistant to Rep. Bob Franks. He was elected to the State Assembly in 2001 and the Senate in 2003.