Home>Campaigns>Freiman won’t rule out congressional campaign against Kean in 2024

Assemblyman Roy Freiman at Gov. Phil Murphy's fiscal year 2023 budget address delivered on March 8, 2022. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe).

Freiman won’t rule out congressional campaign against Kean in 2024

Kean unseated Malinowski last month in New Jersey’s closest race

By Joey Fox, December 05 2022 1:21 pm

Rep.-elect Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield) is still a month away from beginning his first term in Congress after defeating Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) last month, but in New Jersey’s most competitive congressional district, the Democratic campaign to unseat him in 2024 is already quietly underway.

If Malinowski chooses to run to reclaim the seat, the shortlist may well start and end with him. That’s far from a guarantee, however, and Democrats will no doubt look to their varied bench of local candidates for other possibilities.

Asked today about the potential for a congressional campaign, one of those possible candidates, Assemblyman Roy Freiman (D-Hillsborough), told the New Jersey Globe that he’s still a long way away from making any kind of decision.

“It is very early,” Freiman said. “It’s always an honor to be thought of in that regard.”

Pressed on whether he would rule the possibility of a campaign in or out, Freiman said, “I am not commenting on it.”

Freiman was first elected to the state legislature in 2017, succeeding former Assemblyman (and future gubernatorial nominee) Jack Ciattarelli (R-Hillsborough) in an open-seat race. His legislative district, the 16th, covers a range of towns in Somerset County and around Princeton that have rocketed towards Democrats in recent years.

The assemblyman technically lives just outside the boundaries of the new 7th district. Freiman’s hometown of Hillsborough, previously located entirely within the 7th district, was split between two districts on the state’s new congressional map, and his house landed in Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing)’s 12th district.

But unlike in the state legislature, it’s not necessary to be a resident of a congressional district in order to represent it. In 2020, for example, neither Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) nor her Republican challenger Rosemary Becchi lived within the boundaries of the 11th district they were running to represent.

Only one Democratic legislator, 22nd district Assemblyman James Kennedy (D-Rahway), actually lives within the boundaries of the 7th congressional district. Like Freiman, fellow 16th district legislators State Sen. Andrew Zwicker (D-South Brunswick) and Assemblywoman Sadaf Jaffer (D-Montgomery) live in the 12th congressional district instead.

This story was updated at 3:41 p.m. with additional information.

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