Media-Averse Kean Holds a Closed-to-the-Press Rally


BELVIDERE – There are a lot of  “rah-rahs” and “hip hip hoorays” at Get Out The Vote, or GOTV, rallies.

This isn’t a time for substantive discussion of serious issues. It’s more like, “Vote for our guy; He’s great and the other guy is a bum.”

Nothing about this is the least bit controversial.

Tom Kean Jr. seems to have a different view regarding what often resembles a high school pep rally. A GOTV rally planned for Saturday at the local American Legion Hall to benefit his CD-7 campaign is closed to the press.

Those running the show haven’t said why.

It’s already been established that Kean’s campaign is very much by invitation only.  His campaign declines most interview requests and does not publicize his public appearances in advance.

So, having a GOTV rally somewhat shielded from the outside world is not surprising.

But it begs an obvious question: why must such an upbeat and positive campaign event be behind closed doors?

The Saturday event actually seems more consequential than your run-of-the-mill GOTV rally.

The featured speaker is scheduled to be Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee. Her presence certainly tells you two things – the race in CD-7 is close and very important.


As we get to within a month of election day, political watchers across the country are looking at this district ranging across parts of six counties in central and western Jersey as a bellwether.

In short, if Kean prevails – and Republicans have a 17,000 registration advantage – it would enforce GOP arguments that inflation and the economy were, or are, the key issues.

If Democrat Tom Malinowski holds his seat, the significance of women’s rights after the overturning of Roe v. Wade will be enforced.

Throw in the overall battle to control the House, where Republicans have to be considered the favorite, and you see the importance of CD-7. And why the GOP’s national chair is journeying to this small Warren County outpost to rouse up the troops.

The state GOP puts it this way:

“With only 4 weeks until Election Day, it’s time to pull out the stops and get our candidates across the finish line.” It asks attendees to stick around after the rally and to “join Tom and our grassroots army who will be knocking on doors and making phone calls to get the vote out.”

It is necessary to point out two things regarding Kean’s rather stealth campaign.

One is that it’s debatable if average voters care about Kean’s refusal to engage with the press or to hold public events.

The other is that Kean’s campaign is an outlier; all other Republicans seeking competitive House seats this cycle hold open events and talk to those pesky journalists.

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