DCCC - Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

08/05/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 08/04/2020 21:05

Star-Ledger Editorial: Why Kean Jr. Deserves to Lose His Campaign For Congress

Looks like Tom Kean Jr. had a rough weekend.

In case you missed it, Tom Moran, Editor of the Star-Ledger Editorial Board wrote a damning indictment of Tom Kean Jr.

Moran points out that Kean, who supported Donald Trump at a re-election rally earlier this year and hosted an event at Trump's property, has been silent and is apparently hiding to avoid answering tough questions about Trump and Trump's agenda.

Moran also notes Kean Jr.'s lack of vision on issues (his campaign website is 'devoid' of substantive issues altogether) and Kean Jr.'s timid nature as a hinderance on his election prospects.

Moran says, in part:

'Kean's strategy, as I understand it, is to close his eyes really tight, plug his ears, and hope the shadow passes. It's from the same playbook that a deer uses when confronted with a headlight.'

We agree.

'Tom Kean Jr. foolishly embraced Donald Trump and refused to hold Mitch McConnell accountable when he bashed New Jersey, now he's hiding, hoping we all forget,' said DCCC Spokesperson Christine Bennett. 'At some point Kean Jr. will have to come into the daylight, answer reporter phone calls, and explain why he's been silent on so many critical issues. He can't hide forever.'

Why Tom Kean Jr. deserves to lose his campaign for Congress
By Tom Moran | Star-Ledger Editorial Board
August 2, 2020


So, I wanted to ask him why he supports Trump, why he joined the cheering crowd at Trump's rally in Wildwood, and why he's going to vote for Trump in November. And if he wins this race and goes to Washington as a Republican, doesn't that mean he'll work to advance most of Trump's agenda?

Kean wouldn't pick up the phone, which is out of character. I tried his campaign manager, but he wouldn't talk either. I searched Kean's website for clues, top to bottom, but couldn't find the words 'Donald Trump' anywhere.

Kean's strategy, as I understand it, is to close his eyes really tight, plug his ears, and hope the shadow passes. It's from the same playbook that a deer uses when confronted with a headlight.

'Certainly, in the Republican primary he didn't disown Trump, which is problematic,' says Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. 'The question is how much he distances himself from Trump now because that's the only way he can win.'


The 7th is among the most educated districts in the country, with college graduates making up 51 percent of its adults. Trump lost white college graduates to Clinton by 9 points, but Trump has hemorrhaged support among this group in recent months, giving Biden an eye-popping 21 point lead.

Kean's other problem is Malinowski, a human rights activist and diplomat in the Obama administration who proved to be an adept candidate out of the box, beating Lance by 5 points in 2018 and raising more than twice as much money as Kean in this race.

Malinowski is more aggressive, and is already hammering at Kean's vulnerable spots, like his 100 percent approval rating from the National Rifle Association, his support for former Gov Chris Christie's decision to kill the Hudson River tunnel project, and his opposition to bills in Trenton that guarded Obamacare from Republican sabotage, and built protections against surprise medical bills.


But Malinowski reminds us that politics is a team sport, and that Kean will never get his way on those issues in the Republican caucus. Former Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, a Republican in the neighboring 11th district, staked out the same positions, but lost the fight even at the peak of his powers when he served as chairman of the Appropriations Committee.

'The idea that little Tom Kean as a back-bencher in the House is going to convince Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy to change their minds on either SALT or Gateway is preposterous,' Malinowski says. 'You need a Democratic majority to drive those things through.'


Maybe. But Kean has a second problem, aside from Trump. He's timid, by nature. He is trying to survive on the name while avoiding controversy. His campaign website is devoid of substance on issues. He lists four guiding principles as Senate President, all of them platitudes like 'growing our way to a better future' and 'long-term strategies for an affordable state.'

I sent Kean a long list of questions to find out where he stands on federal issues, but he wouldn't respond, even in writing.