By ALAN WOOTEN
THE CENTER SQUARE MANAGING EDITOR
(The Center Square) — Kean vs. Malinowski will have Round 2.
Republican Tom Kean Jr., the son of former New Jersey governor Tom Kean Sr., is headed to a November rematch with incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Tom Malinowski. Both were winners in their respective primaries on Tuesday.
Mr. Kean, the former state Senate minority leader, was called the winner less than three hours after polls closed while comfortably in front of a race against Philip Rizzo, Erik Peterson, John Isemann, Kevin Dorlon, John P. Flora and Sterling Schwab. Bidding for a third term, Rep. Malinowski scored more than 90% of the Democratic primary vote, turning back frequent candidate Roger Bacon.
Rep. Malinowski defeated Mr. Kean two years ago by about 1 percentage point. The district has since been redrawn, with politicos calling it less friendly to the Democrat. Republicans nationwide are expected to make significant gains in midterm races for seats inside the Beltway.
Rep. Malinowski was a State Department official during Barack Obama’s tenure as president. The congressman has faced ethics complaints, and he has admitted “a mistake” with regard to failure to disclose stock transactions.
He said Tuesday night he wanted the race with Mr. Kean to be about the issues, but feared it would be “a lot of dumb attack ads.”
Mr. Kean said he looks forward to “flipping this seat in November.” He pledged to be a leader with vision and experience.
With votes still to be counted at midnight, 80% were in, and Mr. Kean held a lead over Rizzo of 45.9% to 23.7%.
More than 6.4 million voters this year can pick all 12 of New Jersey’s members to the U.S. House of Representatives. Ten of those seats belong to Democrats. The U.S. Senate elections are in 2024 and 2026.
The evening’s other most-watched outcome was in District 8, where Rob Menendez, the son of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, ruled a three-candidate primary. The seat held by Democratic Rep. Albio Sires, who is retiring, was also coveted by David Ocampo Grajales and Ane Roseborough-Eberhard on the Democratic ticket. The GOP primary went to Marcos Arroyo over write-in candidate Ana Rivera.
Mr. Menendez had captured 84% of the vote, with 51% still to be counted and major publications calling the race.