Thomas Kean won re-election as governor in 1985 with 70% of the vote, carrying every municipality but Audubon, Chesilhurst, and Roosevelt, and New Jersey voters still like him: he has a 46%-9% statewide favorable rating, according to a Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey poll. Among voters over age 55, Kean’s favorables are at 68%-12%. Those numbers make you wonder how the 74-year-old Kean would do in the 2012 U.S. Senate race against Robert Menendez, who had a split 41%-41% job approval rating in a Quinnipiac University poll released last month.
Kean, who spent fourteen years as president of Drew University after leaving office and then chaired the high-profile 9/11 Commission, told PolitickerNJ.com this month that he will never seek public office again. The former governor even ruled out a caretaker appointment to the United States Senate.
Kean’s son, Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean, Jr. (R-Westfield), ran against Menendez in 2006 and could seek a rematch when Menendez is up for re-election in two years.