U.S. Midterms: Malinowski vs Kean Jr.

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McGill Journal of Political Studies

Midterm elections will decide who has a seat in the U.S. Capitol Building next year.

Ellen Jordan , The Delphi Staff

The US midterm elections are on Tues., Nov. 8, and there’s plenty at stake for both Democrats and Republicans. 

In just over three weeks, Americans will cast their votes for who will represent them in Congress. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for election, as well as 34 seats in the Senate.

Democrats currently hold a slim majority in both chambers of Congress. In the House, Democrats hold a 220-213 majority, with 3 seats vacant. In the Senate, however, it’s extremely tight. Technically, the Senate is split in half, with 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans. In the case that there is a tie (which is often), Vice President (Democrat) Kamala Harris casts the deciding vote, meaning the Democrats hold the majority in the Senate. Come November, that may not be the case. It all depends on the midterms. 

One key race to watch, especially for Hunterdon County residents, is the battle for New Jersey’s seventh district between Democrat Tom Malinowski and Republican Tom Kean, Jr. This won’t be the first time these politicians will be competing. In 2020, Kean first challenged the incumbent Malinowski. It was extremely close, with Malinowski edging Kean by just over 5,000 votes. 

Two years later, Kean is trying again. Meanwhile, Malinowski is searching for a third term. Kean’s campaign has cost him $1 million so far, and has made $865,909 from fundraising. The incumbent Malinowski has put $3.1 million into his campaign, and he has raised just over $1.8 million. It’s clear that both candidates have high hopes, which is reflected in their costly spendings.

Originally from Poland, Malinowski first migrated to the United States when he was six-years-old. He holds a bachelors degree in political science and a masters degree in philosophy. Prior to serving in Congress, Malinowski worked for the Obama, Bush and Clinton administrations. As for his political views, he values health care, immigration, environmental policies and infrastructure.                                 

The son of former Governor Thomas H. Kean, Kean Jr. hails from Livingston, NJ. After attending Hunterdon Central, he furthered his education by studying at Dartmouth College and Tufts University, obtaining degrees in history, law, and diplomacy.  Kean first started his career in politics by working for President George H.W. Bush’s administration. He has also served as state Senate minority leader, serving in the Senate from 2003-2022. Kean wishes to lower gas prices through backing energy independence, and supporting middle class tax relief. 

On Oct. 16, the two candidates faced off in a televised debate. The debate mainly focused on economic issues, such as inflation. 

“I’m running for Congress so I can break the back of inflation, responsibly cut the spending coming out of Washington, D.C.,” said Kean Jr. 

Other highlights from their face off include both Kean and Malinowski taking shots at each other, and clashing on current issues such as health care and abortion rights. One of Malinowski’s main arguments was the lack of action Kean took while serving in the state Senate. 

“Compare my record in four years in Washington to Tom Kean’s record in 20 years in Trenton,” said Malinowski. 

The debate lasted around 70 minutes, and both candidates felt positively about their performances.

“I think we won the debate,” said Kean, Jr. “We exposed [Malinowski] as an individual who spent a lot of money irresponsibly. He is responsible for the highest spending increases on a very partisan basis out of Washington, D.C. It’s caused the unaffordability and broken supply chains.” 

“I didn’t understand half of what he said,” said Malinowski. “He talks about inflation, did not offer a single solution other than we got to fix our supply chains and get energy independence.”

Malinowski went on to criticize Kean Jr. for being too vague, and not answering questions specifically. 

The midterms are on Tues., Nov. 8. If you are eligible to vote, do so. Every vote matters.