The fourth time may be the charm for Tom Kean Jr. in his more than two-decade quest for a seat in Congress.
The New Jersey Redistricting Commission on Wednesday selected a proposed congressional district map drawn by Democrats. Although the map will largely protect Democratic seats, the map will likely shift the state’s 10-2 Democratic majority in the Garden State’s delegation to 9-3.
The commission responsible for New Jersey’s redistricting process includes equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans, with a tiebreaker selected by the state’s Supreme Court. This cycle’s tiebreaker was John Wallace Jr., a former state Supreme Court justice and a registered Democrat.
MCCONNELL INTENSIFIES COURTING OF MANCHIN TO JOIN GOP
The new map will likely benefit Kean, the state’s Senate minority leader who has run multiple campaigns for Congress, in New Jersey’s new 7th District. Kean is running against incumbent Rep. Tom Malinowski, to whom he narrowly lost in 2020.
Kean first ran for the House in 2006 but lost in the Republican primary. He challenged Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez in 2006 and then came short against Malinowski last year.
Kean appeared confident about his 2022 chances in a Wednesday statement.
“Tom Malinowski has repeatedly betrayed the public trust at a time when our state needs a Congressman and a Congress who will work for all of us,” he said. “I am running for Congress because I want my daughters and their generation to have the same opportunities that my generation had. We need to rebuild a strong American economy that will once again be a leader in the world and fight to get New Jersey its fair share to prosper in the future. Together, we can get our country on the right path, and New Jersey can lead the way.”
Kean is a member of a prominent New Jersey political family: His father was governor, his grandfather was a member of Congress, and his great-grandfather was a senator. Another member of the Kean family was a delegate to the Continental Congress.
New Jersey Democratic State Committee Chairman LeRoy J. Jones, Jr., said in a statement that the new map “meets the principles that we aspired to at the outset of this process and ensures that we have fair districts that will enhance minority representation and accurately reflect the partisan and demographic composition of our state.”
“This map sets us on a path to victory in 2022 and our New Jersey Democratic State Committee will now shift our focus to working closely with each of our congressional campaigns to build capacity, connect with voters and bring out the support needed to win these seats and help Democrats hold the majority in the House of Representatives,” Jones said.
Bob Hugin, chairman of the New Jersey Republican Party, said in a statement that the new map is the product of a “nakedly partisan gerrymander” that “has undermined the basic tenets of our representative democracy.”
“On the heels of an election in which Republicans saw historic gains in the State House and a margin that was too-close-for-comfort in the gubernatorial race, the Democrats on the Redistricting Commission decided to circle the wagons in protecting their own,” Hugin said in reference to last month’s elections in which Republicans outperformed expectations in New Jersey.
Meanwhile, Rep. Chris Smith, one of just two Republicans currently in New Jersey’s congressional delegation, told the New Jersey Globe that he will run for reelection in the 4th District. Smith was first elected to the House in 1980.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER
“We’re going to move, obviously,” Smith said, adding he is “deeply saddened” to lose his hometown of Hamilton, which was moved into the 3rd District.
The redistricting map also makes bluer the districts of Democratic Reps. Josh Gottheimer, Andy Kim, and Mikie Sherrill.