Senate Minority Leader Kean to seek congressional seat

CLARK, N.J. (AP) — State Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. will challenge freshman Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski for his seat representing New Jersey in Congress.

The Republican announced his candidacy Tuesday at an American Legion Hall in northern New Jersey’s 7th District.

Malinowski, who was a State Department official during the Obama administration, ousted five-term Republican incumbent Leonard Lance last year.

Kean says he’s running because Washington politicians could upend the “greatest economy the world has ever known.”

“We simply cannot sit by as D.C. politicians advocate for the false policies that history has discarded. We must take action to steer our country in a better direction,” Kean said.

Kean has served in the state Senate since 2003 and has been the minority leader since 2008.

Kean, who represents the 21st Legislative District and is the son of former two-term GOP Gov. Tom Kean Sr., ran a failed U.S. Senate race in 2006 against Democrat Bob Menendez.

Malinowski was one of four Democrats last year who won New Jersey congressional seats held by Republicans, at least partially a reflection of President Donald Trump’s unpopularity in New Jersey.

Malinowski serves on the Foreign Affairs and Transportation and Infrastructure committees.

Malinowski’s campaign declined to comment on Kean’s candidacy.

The district includes all of Hunterdon County and parts of Essex, Morris, Somerset, Union and Warren counties. It has about 5,000 more Republicans than Democrats, but independents make up the biggest bloc of voters.