Sen. Tom Kean Jr. has made no secret that he is gunning for several Democrats this campaign season.
He released a memo earlier this year where he even threw down the gauntlet on Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney, calling him vulnerable in the 3rd District.
Kean’s goal is to take the Senate for the GOP, a five seat pick-up that most watchers think is a long shot short of a set of mile-long coattails for Gov. Chris Christie. But undeterred, Kean, who would be first in line for the Senate presidency should the GOP prevail, is putting his money where his mouth is and helping fund Republicans in battle ground districts integral to the GOP’s chances of controlling the upper chamber.
According to the latest reports from the Election Law Enforcement Commission, Kean has maxed out in contributions to Republicans in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 14th, 18th and 38th Legislative Districts, five of which were targeted early by the GOP and all of which would need to fall to Republicans to take the Senate. Kean even contributed the $8,200 maximum to the two Assembly candidates in District 1, a right-leaning district that Republicans say they can win.
“With the successful re-election of our 16 Senate Republicans, these five seats alone (1, 2, 3, 14 and 38) are enough to build a new majority,” wrote Kean. “These are districts that, even in non-gubernatorial years, should remain realistic targets for Republicans with enough campaign resources.”
For his part, Sweeney called Kean’s memo “Alice in Wonderland” and dared Kean to spend money in the 3rd District, where Sweeney won by 8 points two years ago against an unknown challenger with no money.
Even if Kean and the Senate Republicans fail to take the chamber, a strong showing by GOP candidates could put Kean in position to carry the standard in next year’s U.S. Senate race.