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Assemblyman Erik Peterson.

Peterson still won’t rule out House bid

Kean entering the race changes nothing, he says

By Nikita Biryukov, May 20 2019 1:54 pm

Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean’s decision to run for the seventh congressional district’s House seat hasn’t pushed Assemblyman Erik Peterson to rule out a run.

“Nothing’s changed. I want to make it through this election and then I’ll think about it a little bit, make a decision at that point,” Peterson told the New Jersey Globe Monday, referring to his 2019 re-election race.

In January, Peterson declined to rule out a congressional bid, saying that he was focused on getting re-elected.

His legislative district is solidly Republican. In 2017, Peterson got 28% of the vote, while his running mate, Assemblyman John DiMaio, earned support from 29% of the voters.

Kean, who is considered the frontrunner for the nomination, had not announced his candidacy at the time.

Rosemary Becchi, a former U.S. Senate staffer with ties to the Trump White House, formed a committee to explore a bid in the seventh last month.

Tom Phillips, a 41-year-old human resources executive from Scotch Plains, was the first Republican to announce his intentions to run against Rep. Tom Malinowski, who unseated five-term Rep. Leonard Lance in 2018 by 16,200 votes.

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