Two years ago, in one of the last U.S. House races to be decided, Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., eked out a second term by just over 5,000 votes against his Republican opponent, then-state Sen. Tom Kean Jr.
In days, Malinowski will again face Kean in New Jersey's 7th District — with the fifth-highest median income in the nation, easily one of the most affluent U.S. House districts anywhere. To students of history, the Malinowski-Kean race is a true "war of the patricians." The Democrat incumbent is the stepson of Blair Clark, a Harvard friend of John F. Kennedy, editor of The Nation and campaign manager of Minnesota Sen. Eugene McCarthy's storied run for the Democrat presidential nomination in 1968.
Kean, 54, is the scion of the Garden State's most durable political dynasty. His namesake father was a popular two-term GOP governor, serving from 1982-90. His grandfather Robert Kean served in the House from 1939-59. His great-grandfather Hamilton Fish Kean was the state's U.S. senator from 1929-35. And his ancestor John Kean was a member of the Continental Congress.
But with all that legacy, the youngest Kean has so far not made it to Congress.
"Tom Kean should win this time," Kellyanne Conway, Donald Trump's former campaign manager and a native of New Jersey, told Newsmax on Wednesday. "He's got to get it right on his third try."
Along with his narrow 2020 defeat, Kean lost a primary for Congress in 2000.
Conway was joking; but turning serious, she emphasized, "As a New Jerseyan and someone who walked [New Jersey's Democrat-turned-Republican Rep.] Jeff Van Drew to the White House when he announced he was switching parties [in 2020], I saw how a Democrat in our state got fed up with his national party's move to the left. And Tom Malinowski can say all he wants [that] he doesn't support issues such as 'defund the police,' but voters will say, 'Your party does.' That will help Tom Kean."
Long considered a moderate in the mold of his father and ancestors, Kean has been hitting on issues such as crime and Malinowski's votes for excessive spending on COVID-19 — which helped cause today's inflation, he charged. Insisting he supports "a woman's right to choose," Kean says he is behind the exceptions to abortion bans such as rape, incest and to save the life of a mother.
Hanging over the race is the talk Malinowski was late in disclosing stock trades he made while in Congress.
The race in New Jersey's 7th District will likely go down to the wire as it did in 2020. But this time, the slight favorite going into the last days of the campaign is Kean.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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