Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) formally announced his campaign for a seat held by Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean (R-Westfield) Tuesday.
“I am proud to announce that I am running to represent the residents of New Jersey’s 21st legislative district in the State Senate,” Bramnick said. “It has been an honor to serve the residents in the State Assembly and I look forward to continuing that work in the State Senate. Tom Kean Jr. is a true statesman, strong advocate, thoughtful policymaker and friend. I wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.”
Bramnick’s long-expected announcement comes a day after Kean told members Senate Republicans he would not seek another term in the chamber.
“As State Senator I will continue to focus on providing high-quality constituent services whether assisting with unemployment claims, dealing with the MVC or navigating a state agency,” he said. “When I am in Trenton I have always been guided by commonsense, civility.”
A GOP moderate and a sometimes-vocal critic of former President Donald Trump, Bramnick’s ambitions to a higher office have long been known in New Jersey political circles. He considered a run for governor but decided to stay out of the race for the nomination, which now appears most likely to go to former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli.
Kean last year came within one point of ousting Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) from the seventh congressional district’s seat. His departure from the upper chamber was less than surprising for Republicans, many of whom expect Kean to seek a seat in the House again next year.
Bramnick has already been in touch with local and county Republican leaders. He has the support of all three of the 21st district’s GOP county chairs — Laura Ali of Morris, Glenn Mortimer of Union and Tim Howes of Somerset.
He also has the backing of 15 municipal Republican chairs, those from Berkeley Heights, Bernards Township, Chatham Borough, Cranford, Far Hills, Kenilworth, Long Hill Township, Mountanside, New Provience, Roselle Park, Springfield, Summit, Warren, Watchung Borough and Westfield.
Though he’s won election in the district nine times, the 21st has grown increasingly competitive over recent cycles, and Democrats will likely play heavily for Kean’s Senate seat.
Roselle Park Mayor Joseph Signorello has already announced his candidacy, and New Jersey Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association President Eddie Donnelly is considering a bid.
No other Republicans have launched campaigns for the Senate seat, though time remains for them to do so.
Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz (R-Summit) intends to seek re-election to her seat, leaving the GOP with only one empty seat to fill in November.