Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. announced the Senate Republican leadership and did not include previous members Sens. Kevin O’Toole or Christopher Bateman. Bateman told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that Kean is holding a grudge against him because he supported O’Toole for Minority Leader.
Bateman said that he got a call last week from Kean saying that he wanted to make changes in the leadership.
“I was surprised and obviously I was disappointed. He is the leader and it is his prerogative and he told me that we needed some changes. I guess it was OK at my level but not at his level. I’ve always been a big supporter of Kean, I supported him when he ran for Congress, U.S. Senate and Minority Leader, so I was a little surprised,” Bateman said.
Bateman said that there is no question in his mind that his role has changed because he supported O’Toole for Minority Leader this time. He said that Kean has been anything but a gracious winner.
“He should be a gracious winner. He won and we should have moved on. The fact that the only two people that he didn’t want in leadership were O’Toole and I, that’s a clear indication that he still holds a grudge,” said Bateman.
Bateman said that it is just a title and he enjoys being in the Senate so he is not going to let this situation stop him from doing his job. He said that he was elected in the 16th District to do the best he can for the residents of New Jersey and that he will put this aside and move forward and just try to be the best senator he can be.
Gov. Chris Christie also supported O’Toole for Minority Leader and Bateman said that Christie probably felt it was better for everybody if there was a change. He said that change didn’t happen so Kean is the Minority Leader and he gets to call the shots in the caucus.