Tom Kean is beating Tom Malinkowski.
The margin is 46 to 38 percent, according to a CD-7 poll done by RMG Research, which also asked respondents if they supported term limits. Most did.
The race in CD-7, which traverses six counties in western and northern New Jersey, is probably the most competitive in the state. The district leaned Democratic in 2020, but under the new congressional map leans Republican.
It is also a rematch between Tom Kean Jr. and Tom Malinowski.
The names may be more relevant than they first seem.
They certainly are to Malinowski’s camp. The congressman’s team quickly noticed that a summary of the poll misspelled Malinowski’s name and did not specify that the Republican candidate is Tom Kean Jr.
Here’s a statement from Naree Ketudat, the campaign’s communications director.
“We are confident based on rigorous, unbiased polling conducted for our campaign that this race will go well for us. We would caution everyone to be suspicious of partisan polls, especially when issued by organizations that can’t even spell Congressman Malinowski’s name correctly, and that apparently pitted him against ‘Tom Kean’ whom most New Jerseyans remember as our highly respected and moderate former governor, instead of Tom Kean Jr., who has pledged to have Donald Trump’s back ‘no matter what.'”
Misspelling Malinowski’s name as Malinkowski probably was a simple mistake that means little.
But Tom Kean and Tom Kean Jr. are different people.
Kean Sr. who served as governor in the 1980’s, left office with very high approval ratings. More relevantly, the elder Kean, in contrast to his son, has been at times a critic of Donald Trump.
It’s possible that some poll respondents, not all of whom are political junkies, may have thought former governor Kean was the man running for Congress.
However, there should be no dispute over another poll question. It found that Joe Biden has an approval rating in the district of a mere 41 percent, which mirrors his national number.
That’s got to be good news for Kean Jr.
Samantha Bullock, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, chided Malinowski for not eliminating the $10,000 SALT cap, as House Democrats pledged to do.
And then she, quite graciously, offered the incumbent some advice:
“Since he’s not working for his constituents right now anyway, Tom Malinowski’s time might be best spent sharpening up his resume in the last few months before the midterms.”
This time, the congressman’s name was spelled correctly.