The only live in-person debate between candidates for Congress in New Jersey’s 7th district was held last week, when Democratic incumbent Tom Malinowski and Republican Tom Kean, Jr. faced off before the Gateway Regional Chamber of Commerce.
The midterm election results here could prove pivotal, because while three-time loser Kean has failed to secure a lead even though the district has been redrawn to favor the Republican Party, the winner of this contest could decide which political party has control of the House of Representatives.
“I’m running for Congress so I can break the back of inflation, responsibly cut the spending coming out of Washington, D.C.,” said Kean, parroting a line that is meaningless except for being poll-tested as a response to the highest inflation since 1981.
Compared to the $6.30 trillion expended for the same period during the last year under the administration of Republican President Donald Trump, federal spending has decreased by $943 billion.
Kean embarrassed himself by accusing the two term congressman of spending “30 years in Washington” because Malinowski used the false allegation to point out that the Republican challenger was in the New Jersey legislature for 20 years and had done nothing to make life better for residents.
Kean authored the law that enables pay-to-play political contributions to influence hiring decisions and government contract awards.
Even as Republican leader in the state Senate, Kean never voted against any appointee of liberal Governor Phil Murphy.
Although Governor Chris Christie tried to replace him as GOP leader, Kean was a loyal lapdog when the former chief executive closed beaches for all but his own family and switched positions on north Jersey gambling after receiving a $1 million campaign contribution from a billionaire developer who has his eye on Liberty State Park in Jersey City.
Malinowski has been under attack by the Republican for sponsoring legislation that would save Social Security and increase benefits for retirees.
New Jersey voters will decide who gets to serve the 7th district as representative but their decision is likely to determine whether Trump Republicans will abandon Ukraine when Russia renews it invasion or if Democrats are going to be able to support the defense of democracy in Europe.