Bramnick and Munoz preparing to face off for Kean’s Senate seat

New Jersey Republicans have not won a United States Senate race since 1972, but with independent polls showing the contest to be a close one, two GOP Assemblymen are actively courting County Committee members just in case there is a Special Election Convention in January for Tom Kean Jr.’s 21st district State Senate seat. Republicans say that Jon Bramnick and Eric Munoz both plan to run for the Senate if Kean goes to Washington, and both legislators have declined to wait until November to begin their campaigns. If Munoz wins, he would become the lone Latino in the upper house — and the first Latino Republican to serve in the New Jersey Senate. But insiders say that in the event of a vacancy, Bramnick may have an edge among party leaders. One possible candidate for an Assembly seat (if a Senate vacancy triggers another Special Election Convention) is J. Brooke Hern, a former aide to U.S. Senator Robert Torricelli who is now a Republican Councilman in New Providence. Hern sought the Democratic nomination for Congress in 2000 and was the Democratic Assembly candidate against Kean in 2001. Since then, Hern has switched parties and has become a close ally of Kean.