Red Trickle in NJ: Republicans Flip Another Seat as Malinowski Concedes
With a margin too large to overcome, Democratic U.S. Rep. Tom Malinowski has conceded to Republican Tom Kean, Jr. in their rematch in the 7th Congressional District.
Malinowski congratulated Kean on social media late Wednesday morning. He blamed redistricting, in part, for his defeat.
"I am deeply grateful to the people of the 7th District for the honor of representing you, and I congratulate Congressman-Elect Kean," Malinowski said. "We did as well or better than in 2020 in the communities I've represented these last four years, but the new district proved too much of a hurdle."
The district includes parts of Central and North Jersey, including Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren counties.
Following Malinowski's concession, Kean said he was grateful to voters and thanked his opponent for his "years of public service."
"Throughout this district and throughout this nation, we have been given an opportunity to change the course of history," Kean said. "My solemn pledge to you will always be to serve with integrity, to listen, to learn, to earn this responsibility you’ve honored me with to steer this nation towards greater opportunity, security, and prosperity."
Kean is the son of one of New Jersey's most popular governors and has served in the state Legislature since 2001. Kean was also unsuccessful in a 2006 ace for U.S. Senate against Democrat Bob Menendez.
Unofficial results on Wednesday morning show Kean with a lead of 13,678 ballots, or 4.67 percentage points. Kean has solid leads in most counties in the 7th District. He narrowly leads in Somerset County but voters in the most populous county, Union, chose Malinowski.
7th District rematch, redistricting
Malinowski first won the 7th District in 2018 and kept the seat in 2020 when he fended off the first challenge from Kean. The incumbent won with a margin of 1.2 percentage points.
New congressional maps for the 2022 election gave Democrats in most seats, sparking outcries from Republicans. However, the redrawn 7th District gave Republicans a better chance of picking up the seat.
7th District campaign fundraising, spending
Malinowski raised $8.4 million this election cycle, more than any other candidate in the state, New Jersey 101.5 previously reported. The incumbent spent $6,868,153, according to data compiled by OpenSecrets.
Kean raised far less, at around $4 million. His campaign spent a total of $3,248,451.
But helping Kean, the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Republican Super PAC, said it spent over $4.6 million on ad buys. CLF President Dan Conston congratulated the Republican in a statement Wednesday.
"Tom Kean was one of the hardest working candidates this cycle and CLF was happy to play a decisive role to help him win this seat," Conston said.
Other closely-watched NJ races
Republicans tried flipping three other seats in races for the 3rd, 5th, and 11th Districts. See the results below.