Jump to content

Thomas Kean Jr.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tom Kean
Official portrait, 2022
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 7th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2023
Preceded byTom Malinowski
Minority Leader of the New Jersey Senate
In office
January 8, 2008 – January 11, 2022
Preceded byLeonard Lance
Succeeded bySteve Oroho
Member of the New Jersey Senate
from the 21st district
In office
March 1, 2003 – January 11, 2022
Preceded byRich Bagger
Succeeded byJon Bramnick
Member of the New Jersey General Assembly
In office
April 19, 2001 – March 1, 2003
Preceded byAlan Augustine
Succeeded byJon Bramnick
Constituency22nd district (2001–2002)
21st district (2002–2003)
Personal details
Thomas Howard Kean Jr.

(1968-09-05) September 5, 1968 (age 55)
Livingston, New Jersey, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
SpouseRhonda Kean
RelativesRobert Kean (grandfather)
Leslie Kean (cousin)
EducationDartmouth College (BA)
Tufts University (MA)
WebsiteHouse website

Thomas Howard Kean Jr. (/ˈkn/ KAYN;[1] born September 5, 1968) is an American politician serving as the U.S. representative from New Jersey's 7th congressional district since 2023. He represented New Jersey's 21st legislative district in the New Jersey Senate from 2003 to 2022, serving as minority leader from 2008 to 2022. A member of the Republican Party, Kean is the son of former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean.

From 2001 to 2003, Kean was a member of the New Jersey General Assembly. In 2003, he was elected a New Jersey state senator representing the same district, and in January 2008 he became minority leader of the New Jersey Senate, serving in the position until his term ended in January 2022.[2]After Governor Chris Christie was reelected in 2013, Christie tried and failed to remove Kean as minority leader.[3] Kean was frequently mentioned as a potential Republican candidate for governor in the 2017 New Jersey gubernatorial election, but did not seek the nomination.[4]

Kean was the Republican nominee for New Jersey's 7th congressional district in 2020, narrowly losing the general election to incumbent Democrat Tom Malinowski. Kean defeated Malinowski in a 2022 rematch. His voting record in Congress has generally been described as moderate.


Thomas Howard Kean Jr.'s father is Thomas Howard Kean, who served as governor of New Jersey from 1982 to 1990.[5] His grandfather is Robert Kean, a former congressman from New Jersey. His great-grandfather Hamilton Fish Kean and great-great-uncle John Kean were both U.S. senators. His grandmother's family are descendants of Peter Stuyvesant, the Dutch colonial governor of New Amsterdam (now known as New York). His great-grandmother Katharine Winthrop was a direct descendant of John Winthrop, the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He is also a direct descendant of Thomas Dudley, governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and a signer of Harvard College's charter. His second great-great-uncle was Hamilton Fish, a U.S. senator, governor of New York, and U.S. Secretary of State. He is also a relative of William Livingston, the first governor of New Jersey.[6] His great-great-great-great-grandfather, John Kean, served in the Continental Congress during the American Revolutionary War, where he advocated ratification of the United States Constitution and was appointed a member of the commission to audit accounts of the Continental Army by General Washington.

Early life[edit]

Kean was born in Livingston, New Jersey, one of twin sons of Deborah (née Bye)[7] and Thomas Kean; the couple also had a daughter. Thomas Jr. grew up on the family's estate in Livingston.[5]

Kean graduated from the Pingry School in Basking Ridge. He is also a graduate of Dartmouth College and holds a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, but left before completing his Ph.D. in international relations.[8] At Dartmouth, he was a member of the Psi Upsilon fraternity.[9]

Kean was an aide to former Congressman Bob Franks and a special assistant at the United States Environmental Protection Agency in the George H. W. Bush administration. He has also been a volunteer firefighter and a volunteer emergency medical technician.

New Jersey Assembly[edit]

Kean was appointed to the General Assembly, the lower house of the New Jersey Legislature, in April 2001, to serve out the unexpired term of Alan Augustine, who had resigned on March 21, 2001, for health reasons. He was elected to a full term in the Assembly in November 2001.[10] In the Assembly, he chaired the Republican Policy Committee and served as vice chair of the State Government Committee.

New Jersey Senate[edit]


Kean with Kyrie Irving in 2010

In March 2003, Kean was appointed to the New Jersey Senate to serve out the unexpired term of Rich Bagger, and won election to that Senate seat in November 2003. In 2004, he was elected Senate Minority Whip, a position he held until 2007. He served in the Senate on the Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.[8] In the state legislature, Kean was a proponent of ethics reform in New Jersey government. He was the original sponsor of legislation banning pay to play practices in New Jersey. He sponsored legislation to streamline government, promote education, protect the environment, and lower property taxes. Kean was one of 24 elected officials chosen as an Aspen Rodel Fellow in Public Service.

In 2002, Kean was named one of 40 state leaders nationwide to be recognized as a Toll Fellow by the Council of State Governments for high achievement and service to state government.

In 2005, the New Jersey Conference of Mayors named Kean a Legislative Leader. He also received, for the second year in a row, the Amerigroup Foundation's Champion for Children award for his advocacy on behalf of children's health issues. He was named Legislator of the year by the Fireman's Benevolent Association and received a 100% voting rating from the National Federation of Independent Business.[11]

Kean was one of six Republicans in the state senate to vote for a 2019 appropriations bill that passed 31 to 6.[12]


  • Commerce
  • Higher Education
  • Legislative Oversight
  • Legislative Services Commission

2006 U.S. Senate campaign[edit]

Kean was the Republican nominee for the United States Senate seat vacated by former U.S. senator and former governor of New Jersey Jon Corzine, a seat now filled by Corzine's designated replacement, Bob Menendez. Kean won the June 6, 2006, primary against John P. Ginty by a 3–1 margin.[13] He lost the general election to Menendez, 53.3% to 44.3%. The race was the narrowest victory for an incumbent Democrat in the U.S. in an election that saw Democrats retake control of the Senate as part of a nationwide backlash against the Bush administration.[14] Kean was endorsed by The Courier-Post, The Press of Atlantic City, and Asbury Park Press.

U.S House of Representatives[edit]



Kean sought the Republican nomination for New Jersey's 7th congressional district, but lost the primary to Mike Ferguson by about 4,000 votes, finishing second in a field of four candidates.[15]


On April 16, 2019, Kean announced that he was running for New Jersey's 7th congressional district in 2020, challenging first-term Democratic incumbent Tom Malinowski.[16] In the first quarter of 2019, Kean nearly matched Malinowski's fundraising total of over $500,000.[17] In August 2019, Kean was endorsed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.[18] Kean won the Republican primary over token opposition, and narrowly lost to Malinowski in the general election. It was the closest House race in New Jersey and one of the closest in the country; due to the close margin and slow counting of mail-in and provisional ballots, the outcome remained in doubt until nearly two weeks after the election.[19]


Kean announced in February 2021 that he would not seek reelection to the State Senate and immediately became the subject of speculation that he was preparing to run for New Jersey's 7th congressional district again.[20] Malinowski was under scrutiny after his failure to disclose more than 100 stock trades became a national news story and led to a complaint filed with the House Ethics Committee.[21][22] In redistricting, the 7th district was made more Republican while the neighboring 11th and 5th districts became more solidly Democratic. Kean formally announced his campaign on July 14, 2021, joined by U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.[23][24] He won the Republican primary in June 2022[25] and the general election with 51.4% (159,392 votes) to Malinowski's 48.6% (150,701 votes).[26]


Kean is a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership, and joined the Problem Solvers Caucus, a centrist House caucus. The caucus has led him to cooperate with other members of Congress from New Jersey, such as Democrats Josh Gottheimer and Mikie Sherrill. Kean said he joined the caucus to assure constituents that he remains committed to "working across the aisle". He is a moderate Republican, though detractors have said he could have done more to distance himself from the politics of President Trump.[27][28] Critics have called Kean out for holding "Telephone Town Halls", especially Sue Altman, the executive director of the New Jersey Working Families Alliance. Others counter that Kean's lesser media presence is a strength. Fred Snowflack of Insider New Jersey reported, "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".[29]

Committee assignments[edit]

For the 118th Congress:[30]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Kean is an Episcopalian.[32] He resides in Westfield with his wife, Rhonda Lee Norton,[33] and their two daughters.[34]

Electoral history[edit]

United States House of Representatives[edit]

2022 United States House of Representatives elections in New Jersey: District 7[26]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Tom Kean Jr. 159,392 51.4%
Democratic Tom Malinowski (incumbent) 150,701 48.6%
Republican gain from Democratic
2020 United States House of Representatives elections in New Jersey: District 7[35]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Tom Malinowski (incumbent) 219,688 50.6
Republican Tom Kean Jr. 214,359 49.4
Democratic hold

New Jersey Senate[edit]

New Jersey State Senate elections, 2017[36]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Thomas Kean Jr. (Incumbent) 37,579 54.7
Democratic Jill Lazare 31,123 45.3
Republican hold
New Jersey State Senate elections, 2013[37]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Thomas Kean Jr. (Incumbent) 42,423 69.6
Democratic Michael Komondy 18,517 30.4
Republican hold
New Jersey State Senate elections, 2011[38]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Thomas Kean Jr. (Incumbent) 27,750 67.5
Democratic Paul Swanicke 13,351 32.5
Republican hold
New Jersey State Senate elections, 2007[39]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Thomas Kean Jr. (Incumbent) 29,795 59.7
Democratic Gina Genovese 20,092 40.3
Republican hold
New Jersey general election, 2003[40]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Thomas Kean Jr. (Incumbent) 32,058 67.4 Increase 8.8
Democratic Francis D. McIntyre 14,470 30.4 Decrease 11.0
Green Teresa Migliore-DiMatteo 1,055 2.2 N/A
Total votes 47,583 100.0

New Jersey Assembly[edit]

New Jersey general election, 2001[41]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Thomas Kean Jr. 44,223 31.8
Republican Eric Munoz 39,457 28.4
Democratic Tom Jardim 28,499 20.5
Democratic J. Brooke Hern 26,896 19.3
Total votes 139,075 100.0

United States Senate[edit]

United States Senate election in New Jersey, 2006[42]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Bob Menendez (inc.) 1,200,843 53.3% +3.1%
Republican Thomas Kean Jr. 997,775 44.3% −2.8%
Libertarian Len Flynn 14,637 0.7% +0.4%
Marijuana Edward Forchion 11,593 0.5%
Independent J.M. Carter 7,918 0.4 +0.2
Independent N. Leonard Smith 6,243 0.3%
Independent Daryl Brooks 5,138 0.2%
Socialist Workers Angela Lariscy 3,433 0.2% +0.1%
Socialist Gregory Pason 2,490 0.1% +0.0%
Majority 203,068 9.0%
Turnout 2,250,070
Democratic hold Swing 3.26%


  1. ^ Felzenberg, Alvin S. (2006). Governor Tom Kean. Rutgers University Press. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-8135-3799-3. From the time James Kean arrived in South Carolina, the Keans took pains to retain the proper pronunciation of their name, which rhymes with rain rather than with green.
  2. ^ Wildstein, David. "County chairs back Bramnick, Assembly incumbents for re-election", New jersey Globe, November 15, 2022. Accessed January 6, 2023. "Bramnick, a former minority leader of the New Jersey State Assembly, won a State Senate seat in 2021 after Tom Kean, Jr., now a congressman-elect, declined to seek re-election in order to focus on his challenge to Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes)."
  3. ^ Isherwood, Darryl (November 8, 2013). "Democrats continue to savage Kean". NJ.com. Retrieved April 20, 2014.
  4. ^ Lizza, Ryan (April 14, 2014). "Crossing Christie". New Yorker. Retrieved April 20, 2014.
  5. ^ a b Chen, David W. "A Kean on the Ballot? What Else Is New?", The New York Times, September 16, 2006. Accessed February 24, 2011. "As he grew up at the family homestead in Livingston, the younger Mr. Kean said he was most impressed with the reception that his father received in the community."
  6. ^ Staff. "10 Things to Know About Tom Kean", The Star-Ledger, April 10, 2015. Accessed November 23, 2016.
  7. ^ "Weddings; Dorian Drees, Reed Kean". The New York Times. December 10, 2000. Retrieved September 5, 2019. Dorian Drees, a daughter of Susan Drees Sugarman of Palm City, Fla., and the late John M. Drees, was married yesterday to Reed Stuyvesant Kean, a son of Thomas H. Kean, the former governor of New Jersey, and Deborah Bye Kean of Far Hills, N.J.
  8. ^ a b Senator Thomas H. Kean Jr. legislative web page, New Jersey Legislature. Accessed April 17, 2008.
  9. ^ Chen, David W. (October 23, 2006). "Out to Show He's Not Just an Old Jersey Name (Published 2006)". The New York Times – via NYTimes.com.
  10. ^ Bowman, Bill. "Ex-governor's son swims upstream"[permanent dead link], Asbury Park Press, September 27, 2003. Accessed April 17, 2008. "Kean, who was appointed to the Assembly in March 2001 upon the resignation of the late Alan Augustine, won re-election in 2001. He was appointed to his 21st District Senate seat earlier this year after the resignation of Richard H. Bagger."
  11. ^ Senator Tom Kean, Jr., New Jersey Senate Republicans. Accessed November 23, 2016.
  12. ^ "Senate passes budget 31-6". New Jersey Globe. June 20, 2019. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  13. ^ Unofficial List - Candidates for US Senate - For June 2006 Primary Election Archived 2006-09-22 at the Wayback Machine, dated June 7, 2006
  14. ^ "CNN.com - Elections 2006". www.cnn.com. Retrieved September 27, 2017.
  15. ^ "2000 Primary Election Results -- U.S. House of Representatives" (PDF). New Jersey Division of Elections. Retrieved December 24, 2013.
  16. ^ NJ.com, Brent Johnson | NJ Advance Media for; NJ.com, Jonathan D. Salant | NJ Advance Media for (April 16, 2019). "Big-name N.J. Republican Tom Kean Jr. challenges rookie Democrat for seat in Congress". nj.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  17. ^ "Kean raises 500k for House bid". New Jersey Globe. July 8, 2019. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
  18. ^ "House Minority Leader endorses Kean". New Jersey Globe. August 7, 2019. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  19. ^ "Malinowski defeats Kean in close race". New Jersey Globe. November 18, 2020.
  20. ^ David Wildstein (February 1, 2021). "Kean Won't Seek Re-Election To State Senate Seat, Possibly Setting Up Rematch With Malinowski". New Jersey Globe.
  21. ^ David Wildstein (July 1, 2021). "Kean will run for Congress in 2022 in rematch against Malinowski". New Jersey Globe.
  22. ^ Kerry Picket (July 5, 2021). "Tom Kean Jr. hopes the fourth time's a charm in bid for New Jersey House seat". Yahoo News.
  23. ^ Johnathan D. Salant (July 11, 2021). "Tom Kean Jr. to kick off N.J. campaign for Congress with help from top House Republican". nj.
  24. ^ Stephanie Murray (July 12, 2021). "It's Republican-vs.-Republican in Texas". Politico.
  25. ^ Shepherd, Brittany (June 11, 2022). "Democrats on the ropes from redistricting could determine balance of power in Congress". ABC News. Retrieved June 20, 2022.
  26. ^ a b "New Jersey Seventh Congressional District Election Results". The New York Times. November 8, 2022. Retrieved November 23, 2022.
  27. ^ a b "Kean joins Problem Solvers Caucus". March 8, 2023.
  28. ^ "Kean Follows Gottheimer's Lead". March 8, 2023.
  29. ^ "'Where is Junior?' Protesters Descend on Kean Country". Insider NJ. April 18, 2023. Retrieved May 19, 2023.
  30. ^ "Full Committee".
  31. ^ "Candidates". RMSP PAC. Retrieved December 26, 2022.
  32. ^ "Religious affiliation of members of 116th Congress" (PDF). PEW Research Center. Retrieved March 13, 2023.
  33. ^ "WEDDINGS; Rhonda Norton, Thomas Kean Jr". The New York Times. November 13, 1994. Retrieved June 15, 2023.
  34. ^ Chen, David W. "For Menendez and Kean, a Fierce First Debate", The New York Times, June 26, 2006. Accessed March 7, 2008. "Then, a few minutes later, the most dramatic exchange occurred when Mr. Kean sought to contrast his own background and record in Westfield, a wealthy suburb, with Mr. Menendez's in Hudson County."
  35. ^ "New Jersey Election Results: Seventh Congressional District". The New York Times. November 3, 2020. Retrieved February 22, 2021.
  36. ^ "Official List Candidates for State Senate For General Election 11/07/2017 Election" (PDF). Secretary of State of New Jersey. November 29, 2017. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  37. ^ "Official List Candidates for State Senate For General Election 11/05/2015 Election" (PDF). Secretary of State of New Jersey. December 4, 2013. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
  38. ^ Official List Candidate Returns for State Senate For November 2011 General Election, New Jersey Department of State, December 14, 2011. Accessed June 22, 2012.
  39. ^ Official List Candidate Returns for State Senate For November 2007 General Election, New Jersey Department of State, December 3, 2007. Accessed June 22, 2012.
  40. ^ "Official List, Candidate Returns for State Senate for November 2003 General Election" (PDF). Secretary of State of New Jersey. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 5, 2016. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  41. ^ "2001-general-elect-gen-assembly-tallies.pdf" (PDF). New Jersey Secretary of State. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 5, 2017. Retrieved April 2, 2019.
  42. ^ Official List: Candidates for US Senate For November 2006 General Election Archived 2007-11-26 at the Wayback Machine, New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, Division of Elections, dated December 4, 2006. Accessed September 26, 2007.

External links[edit]

New Jersey General Assembly
Preceded by Member of the New Jersey General Assembly
from the 22nd district

Served alongside: Rich Bagger
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the New Jersey General Assembly
from the 21st district

Served alongside: Eric Munoz
Succeeded by
New Jersey Senate
Preceded by Member of the New Jersey Senate
from the 21st district

Succeeded by
Title last held by
Edward T. O'Connor Jr.
Minority Whip of the New Jersey Senate
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minority Leader of the New Jersey Senate
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Republican nominee for U.S. senator from New Jersey
(Class 1)

Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 7th congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by United States representatives by seniority
Succeeded by