‘Where is Junior?’ Protesters Descend on Kean Country

BRIDGEWATER – One sign said simply, “Where is Junior?”

Other signs – and speakers – made similar cracks about Thomas H. Kean Jr., the newly-elected congressman from CD-7 in central and western Jersey.

Kean ousted Democrat Tom Malinowski last fall, the only congressional candidate in the state to “flip” a district. That was not a total surprise, given the fact the district became more Republican when boundaries were redrawn after the 2020 Census.

However, throughout the campaign, some observers faulted Kean for avoiding public events and refusing many media interviews. That pattern has continued with Kean in Washington.

And that sparked a rally Tuesday morning alongside Route 22 by Democrats and like-minded groups. About 100 people attended.

A number of speakers called on Kean to hold a “town hall” and in general, lambasted conservative policies, especially in regard to women’s rights and gun control.

“He is hiding from us,” said Sue Altman, the executive director of the New Jersey Working Families Alliance.

Town halls can be contentious, but Altman said, “You know what, that’s part of the job.”

Another speaker with an apparent affinity for math said Kean’s been in office for 100 days now, and “it’s time” for a town hall.

Broadly speaking, all members of Congress do not hold town halls – public forums in which lawmakers take unfiltered questions from the audience.

But Malinowski by his count held about 140 of them during his four years in office, including a farewell event after losing reelection. So the contrast here is quite real.

Kean has not helped himself in this regard.

A while back, he put up a Facebook post about a successful “telephone town hall.”  But the event was not publicized in advance and his spokesman did not respond to questions about how it was organized and who was invited. Kean’s office did not comment on today’s rally.

Aside from no town halls, Kean’s office does not routinely publicize his “public” events, most of which are hardly controversial. This is unusual for a member of Congress.

Which brings us to an interesting point.

Kean’s strategy of not engaging the public – or media – in dialogue hardly seems coincidental. In fact, it plays well with his base, many of whom dislike the media.

Dating back to last fall’s campaign, most of those griping about Kean’s incommunicado ways were the media and voters who probably were not going to support him anyway.

So, why bother engaging with a segment of the public that probably would give him a hard time?

Or in other words, Kean probably lost no Republican votes last year by not having genuine public events. And the guess here is that he may not lose any in 2024 either.

But at the same time, next year’s election is a totally different animal from 2022. There are always many more voters in a presidential year and it can be hard to figure out what people who vote only once in four years are going to do.

Still, CD- 7, as we said, leans Republican. At last look, it has about 16,000 more Republicans than Democrats. That’s not an overwhelming advantage, but an advantage still the same.

How did it get that way?

That’s how the Democrats wanted it. Remember that it was the Democrats’ map that was accepted by the tie-breaking member of the state redistricting commission back in late 2021.

Kean is enjoying success in a district the Dems created. There’s some political irony for you.

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5 responses to “‘Where is Junior?’ Protesters Descend on Kean Country”

  1. Of course these same people say nothing when congressman Donald Payne Jr. doesnt hold town hall meetings, but then again he holds the same political views as these protestors so he gets a pass.

  2. Rep. Payne came to my town and met with residents. He attended public events and also addressed our town council.
    Now we are in CD7 and haven’t seen Junior anywhere.

  3. Sorry protesters, Kean doesn’t deal with Socialists and Communists trying to tear down this State and this Nation. Go complain to your Democrat lapdogs in Trenton or D.C. and stop creating a public disturbance and public nuisance.

  4. Interesting remarks from Kean fans. Donald Pay e does not say one thing and vote another. Kean had two websites. One fir his fans and one for moderates. Out of many issues that we are truly concerned about are social security, abortion and guns. He is mum in DC but supports 90% of Kevin McCarthy’s messaging votes that placate the GOP base..

  5. Kean Jr is master of the slippery say-nothing school of politics. His latest newsletter posted on Earth Day is of course about the environment. He tells us he met his wife when they both worked at the EPA. Whoh! That was a long time ago. That was then, this is now. Now he has voted to gut Pres. Biden’s dramatic plan to combat gloabal warming. His questionnaire on that Earth Day mailing asks his constituents what environmental issues they most care about: Clean Water? Clean Air? And the slot for “Other” only allows a few words. I wonder, Is there anyone in NJ who doesn’t care about clean air and water? The real question is What Are You, Mr. Congressman, going to do about it? so far, only shoot down the efforts in that direction. If his supporters think that he is protecting us from Socialists and Communists by objecting to the President’s agenda for helping to save the earth’s environment, they need to learn a bit about what Socialism and Communism actually are.

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