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The Tom Kean Jr. campaign for Congress on Thursday trumpeted a tweet from the National Republican Congressional Committee asserting that Tom Malinowski is one of three freshmen Democrats losing in “tested match-ups against named candidates.”
In this sampling, one of those “named candidates” is naturally Tom Kean.
But you wonder if the NRCC also polled how Rosemary Becchi would do.
Becchi, who heads Jersey First, an advocacy group for lower taxes and less spending, announced her candidacy earlier this month for the GOP congressional nomination in the 7th District, which Malinowski narrowly won over Republican Leonard Lance last fall.
In a chat this week in her Millburn office, Becchi suggested Malinowski is more concerned with advancing his career than actually representing a district that ranges over six counties in central and western New Jersey. She said Malinowski may be looking to be Secretary of State in a Democratic administration. He did serve as assistant secretary overseeing human rights in the Obama Administration.
Saying someone may be looking to run the State Department could be seen as a compliment, but that’s not how Becchi meant it.
She said Malinowski is “not there (in Congress) to fight for the issues that people in New Jersey want.”
Her view of the incumbent is predictable, but a more pressing concern for her is the other Tom.
Party leaders who enjoy controlling things dislike primaries, but the feeling here is that average voters like having a choice. And that will happen if Becchi, Kean and perhaps others square-off for the Republican nomination next June.
The younger Kean, obviously, is the son of the onetime governor.
That seems like an advantage – at least in name recognition – but Becchi doesn’t necessarily buy it.
“I really think people are focused on the issues and their lives,” she said. “I don’t think people look for political dynasties anymore.”
She referred to Kean as a “career politician,” who hasn’t accomplished all that much in the 18 years he’s been in the Legislature. She also criticized him for being one of the few Republicans to support the $38.7 billion, state budget.
“That wasn’t good for New Jersey,” she says.
Generally speaking, Becchi, who lives in Short Hills, described herself as more conservative than Kean on such social issues as the Second Amendment and abortion. She said she is pro-life.
One bright spot on Becchi’s resume is her work in the 1990’s as tax counsel for the Senate Finance Committee, She takes pride in being a co-author of what’s become known as the 529 plan, a tax-beneficial plan that offers families a way to save for college. A legitimate accomplishment in the public sphere is bound to help a candidate.
The Kean campaign said a few weeks ago it already has raised “more than $500,000.”
That’s a good start, but Becchi doesn’t seem fazed.
As to her campaign and ability to raise money, she said, “I work pretty hard.”