Kean’s Abortion and Guns Record: Its Impact on Women Voters

The 2020 election gets closer every day and Republican Thomas Kean Jr. wants to make sure people know he’s running against Democrat Tom Malinowski in District 7.

The issue of reproductive choice is always of some significance in Congressional and state legislative campaigns in New Jersey, particularly among women voters.  A woman is more particularly impacted by this issue than a male voter because it involves what choice options she will have in the event of an unwanted or health dangerous pregnancy.

Gun violence is obviously a highly salient issue to all voters, but more particularly to women because of the frequency of deaths of women caused by men perpetrators of gun violence.  Women voters tend to be far more inclined than men to vote for candidates who favor common sense gun control laws, including reasonable restraints on the number of guns one may purchase, magazine limitations, and clearance requirements on the right to carry concealed weapons.

Recent events have vastly increased the salience of both issues.  It is the combination of the records of former Republican State Senator Tom Kean, Jr., on both reproductive freedom and gun control that has the potential to severely vitiate his ability to gain support from women voters in his campaign to unseat incumbent Democratic 7th District Congressman Tom Malinowski.

The significance of the reproductive freedom issue to women voters has escalated dramatically due to the apparent likelihood that the US Supreme Court will reverse its 1973 precedential decision on Roe v. Wade.  A Roe reversal would thereby eliminate its constitutional protection of a woman’s reproductive freedom choice during the first two trimesters of a pregnancy.

There is only one way of absolutely protecting a woman’s right to choose from elimination by either federal or state court ukase.  That is by legislative codification of the constitutional right to freedom of reproductive choice. The New Jersey legislature and Governor Phil Murphy achieved this protection by the enactment in January, 2022 of S49, the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act.

Tom Kean, Jr. voted against this legislation and the constitutional protection it provides women on reproductive freedom.  The negative effect of this vote on his ability to gain support from women of both political parties is obvious.

The salience of the gun issue has increased astronomically due to the national wave of gun violence during the first two months of this year.  The issue of crime can strengthen the case for either party, depending on the context.  When gun violence is the context, the crime issue becomes one that favors the Democrats, due to their emphasis on gun control.

With respect to Kean’s positions regarding reasonable gun control restraints, including limitations on magazine, gun purchases, and restrictions on the right to carry concealed weapons, the following tells the reader the entire story. The National Rifle Association (NRA) Victory Fund gave Tom Kean, Jr. these ratings for the following election cycles: an A+ rating (100 percent) for 2017 and a B rating (67 percent) for 2020.

Having a record that intentionally or unintentionally promotes the NRA agenda on guns is a major negative for Kean’s electability.  The New Jersey electorate is very pro-gun control in Democratic-leaning districts like the 7th.  Throughout America, the NRA reputation is one of political toxicity, due to personal scandals in their leadership, and polls reflect this decline in the ethical reputation of the NRA.

Tom Kean, Jr. is a person without personal scandal, ethical or otherwise.  Yet if the Malinowski campaign succeeds in associating Kean with the NRA due to his NRA- compatible voting record, that reputation for integrity and probity will suffer as well, unfair as that may be.

Kean’s ability to attract support from both Democratic men and women potential crossover voters will also be most adversely impacted by the combination of his gun control and reproductive freedom records.  In this regard, Kean has the very bad fortune to have to confront the messaging on behalf of the Malinowski campaign that will be crafted by Brad Lawrence and Steve DeMicco.  They are the two most effective Democratic message and media consultants in the modern history of New Jersey politics.

Towards the end of last week, the Malinowski campaign released a most powerful video ad crafted by the Lawrence-DeMicco partnership regarding Kean’s inexplicable failure to repudiate the Republican National   Committee’s infamous “legitimate political discourse” resolution.  The ad had the political impact of a Rocky Marciano knockout punch.

The Lawrence-DeMicco partnership will doubtless be crafting a commercial for network television highlighting the record of Tom Kean, Jr. on guns and abortion.  That should give Tom Kean, Jr.  a profound sense of political foreboding

Next installment in a four-part series: Kean’s silence on the Republican National Committee “Legitimate Political Discourse” Resolution

Alan J. Steinberg served as regional administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush and as executive director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission.

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3 responses to “Kean’s Abortion and Guns Record: Its Impact on Women Voters”

  1. I fully support Tom Malinowski and his views on common sense gun laws, pro choice, and Joe Biden’s BBB Act. Looking forward to his re-election to the House in November!

  2. Kean Jr like most Republicans does not hold town halls. They have no interest in subjecting themselves to voters’ questions because they cannot defend their positions, so they don’t dare appear publically unless they are thoroughly scripted, controlled events. Malinowski is constantly in touch with his constituents and is open to dialogue with all, always thoughtful in his responses and authentically engaged with everyone, hearing out those who disagree with him as well. Kean Jr is just another corporate owned empty suit. Malinowski fights for us, including infrastructure and getting back the SALT deduction. The difference is between a born, dedicated public servant and a prop of the Republican Machine.

  3. It doesn’t matter what his views are. The Republican Congress will result in no serious gun reform and a nationwide abortion ban. If Kean cared about these issues he wouldn’t be a Republican.

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