Kean Retreats to ‘Hiding Hole’ with Speaker Johnson

BERNARDS TWP. – Mike Johnson, the Speaker of the House, emerged from the Grain House restaurant at about 1:30 p.m, hopped into an SUV and was off; his fundraising duties for Rep. Thomas H. Kean Jr. apparently complete.

Johnson, who is next in line to the presidency after the vice president, certainly seems like the type of guy who can draw a crowd – and help raise campaign cash. That’s a plus for any candidate.

The minus is that by any calculus, Johnson’s evangelical-infused conservatism may be out of step with the diverse CD-7, which ranges from Rahway in Union County to the Delaware River.

While Republicans hold a slight registration advantage in the district, it clearly is the most competitive in the state.

The fundraiser reportedly was originally scheduled for Springfield, prompting an opposition rally by Democrats and liberal groups in a township park.

The main speaker was Sue Altman, the presumptive Democratic candidate against Kean.

She referenced what likely is going to be a constant theme this fall.

Altman said of Kean:

“You get to go to Congress – the honor of a lifetime. …  And yet, you go to Washington and you never come out of your little hiding hole. You never come to meet your constituents.”
On one hand, this is political rhetoric.

Yet, it is also true that dating back to the 2022 campaign, Kean has avoided most interviews with the press and public interactions of just about any kind.

His office has not yet responded to a request for comment on the Speaker’s visit.

Kean’s public behavior – or lack thereof – did not hurt him two years ago when he ousted Tom Malinowski.

Altman thinks, or hopes, this year will be different.

“He’s afraid. He’s cowardly,” she said. “And that means we can beat him.”

Other speakers struck a similar theme, accusing Kean of supporting a “MAGA-agenda” that is anti-women, anti-gay and against the interests of working people.

Antoinette Miles, the State Director for the New Jersey Working Families Party, one of the organizers of the rally, said of the Speaker:

“MAGA-Mike, go back to D.C.”

No, someone shouted back – send him back to Louisiana.

Another speaker to a crowd of about 100 was Christian Estevez, the state legislative and political director for CWA. He said it’s the union’s core mission to fight for people to keep their jobs.

But in this case, he’s going to work for Kean to lose his job.

One of the biggest issues in Washington today is the refusal of Speaker Johnson to post a bill granting military aid to Ukraine. It recently passed the Senate with Republican support.

So it probably was no surprise that a handful of people at today’s rally arrived waving Ukrainian flags.

Kean, in past public comments, has said he supports Ukraine.

Speaking to Morris County Republicans last March, he said Ukraine is of “vital interest” to the United States and that the country needs to get the “weaponry to get the job done.”

That was a strong statement, but it also was nearly a year ago.

It makes you wonder what, if anything, Kean said to the Speaker today over lunch about aiding Ukraine.


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10 responses to “Kean Retreats to ‘Hiding Hole’ with Speaker Johnson”

  1. Not sure if this is all accurate I received multiple emails over the year from mr Kean that he supports Ukraine . I agree he needs to be more public . He is not a maga at all more like a rino republican. I don’t think sue Altman has any idea what a maga is . Just is trying to lump mr Kean a basic republican into trumps maga party which he is not. Ms Altman should stop lying

  2. Hey P seke. I know what MAGA is, and so does Sue Altman. Tom Kean Jr. has done NOTHING in Congress, AND he’s hiding from the public. But don’t take it from me. Try to find him. Call his office. Ask him about how he will vote on funding for Ukraine, after Tweeting he was horrified at Nalvany’s murder. He’ll do nothing. He is nothing. He has no idea why he’s in Congress, except to stay there. And so he will be a MAGA man until Sue Altman unseats him in November and helps women get back their rights, Ukrainians get back their country, and all of us get rid of Mike Johnson and Donald J. Trump.

  3. This Kean is hiding narrative is pretty misleading. I live in the district and Kean has personally knocked my door twice since getting elected. I am nobody special. Just a voter in his district. When Malinowski represented my town, I never saw him at my door or an event and the one time that I did see him was in Morristown, outside the district. When my town was in CD5, I never saw Josh Gottheimer once. Same with Scott Garrett before him. Kean put the legwork in and he deserves some recognition for that. Also calling Kean MAGA is laughable. Hes as moderate as they come. Altman is the radical in this race.

  4. It’s true Kean has accomplished little. I have always said the Republican party is dead in NJ. Sadly, so is conservatism.

    It’s also true that Altman is a radical liberal who will do the bidding of our President & our VP, Shits and Giggles.
    They have destroyed this country.

    Mr. Candido, you are correct. Make America Great sounds very good.

    Now, Mr. Schnackenberger, as always your input, insight, intellectual and intelligent comments always add value to the debates & discussions. You are just too cool.

  5. P Seke – what does an email do other than message to the gullible if it’s not backed by facts? Kean (his PR firm really), says a lot of things. You have to look at how he VOTES.
    If he is not a MAGA why has he voted with the MAGA’s about 90% of the time?
    There are no basic Republicans anymore. They have their marching orders and Kean and his fellow MAGA’s follow them to the T.
    If you are going to call a candidate a liar, back it with facts. Kean, Jr. is a MAGA puppet and everyone who has done basic research on his voting record knows it.

  6. KFeds, I’m going to go out a a pretty strong limb here and bet you are a registered Republican who lives in Somerset County.
    Again do a little research (unless you want to spew misinformation to other gullible people.)
    The previous representative from CD7, Tom Malinowski, held over 130 public events just in 2022. He would answer questions and listen to people about the issues that were important to them whatever their opinion or his vote was. Tom Kean, Jr. has held 0. His PR firm has produced a few telephone events that have been scripted down to the last word. He’s never answered a question from someone who did not vote for him but who he is paid to represent.
    Many of us have called, emailed and shown up at his office asking to hear from him. He never connects with us.
    If you never saw Malinowski that’s on you. He had multiple events you could have attended. Kean, Jr. knocked on your door because he knew who you were. Ask your mom Republican neighbors if he knocked on their doors.
    This election is a binary choice – Autocracy or an imperfect Republic.

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