State Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R-21) wouldn’t comment on how state Sen. Joe Kyrillos’ (R-13) formation of an exploratory committee impacts Kean’s own designs on a U.S. Senate seat.
All he did was praise Kyrillos and – two days after hosting a rally for state-level Republicans in Chesterfield – reiterate his commitment to getting the GOP – down 16-24 – closer to a majority in the state Senate.
“Joe’s a good friend, a key ally and a strong advocate for all New Jerseyans,” said Kean. “Joe and I together, as with every member of the party, are focused on picking up seats this November.”
Asked if he had ruled out a 2012 rematch with U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Kean wouldn’t go there. His allies argue that the former governor’s son has 90% name ID and a 2-1 favorable rating, but Kean right now plays the specific party role of trying to augment the GOP presence in Trenton.
The nationally wired-in Gov. Chris Christie has said repeatedly at fundraisers and Republican events that he intends to raise $1 million per quarter to that end. Kyrillos, too, has contributed to other Senate candidates’ coffers.
Most Republican sources agree that districts 2, 14 and 38 provide the best opportunities for pickups, and of these, a source told PolitickerNJ.com that Kean is especially intrigued by the candidacy of plumber/pipefitter Richard Kanka, who’s challenging state Sen. Linda Greenstein, (D-14), of Plainsboro.