Senator Tom Kean Jr was reelected Senate Minority Leader moments ago, according to a tweet by PolitickerNJ’s Matthew Arco.
Cross Kean off your list of possible challengers to U.S. Senator Cory Booker in 2014. Keep him on your list of potential candidates in the next gubernatorial election, whenever that is, either 2017 or a special election in 2015 or 2016 or Governor Christie resigns to run for president.
PolitickerNJ reports that Kean fought back a challenge by Christie’s strongest allies in the Senate to replace the son of the former governor with Sen. Kevin O’Toole. Kean prevailed 10-6.
Today’s leadership vote marks the first time that GOP Legislators have not complied with Christie’s wishes since the governor took office in 2010.
Kean released the following statement:
“I’m honored to again lead the Republican Caucus in the Senate and I thank my colleagues for their overwhelming support,” said Kean. “The responsibility to my caucus and all New Jerseyans is one I hold with great respect. I look forward to working with Governor Christie, Steve , Vincent and Jon.”
Steve is Senate President Steve Sweeney. Vincent is newly elected Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto of Hudson County. Jon is Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick who was reelected Minority Leader by the Assembly Republican Caucus.
Republican Senators Sam Thompson, Chairman of the Middlesex GOP, Chris Connors of Ocean County, and Robert Singer, Ocean and Monmouth, were vocally critical of Christie’s bi-partisan reelection strategy and cited Kean party building in an against all odds scenario presented by the gerrymandered legislative map, according to PolitickerNJ.
SaveJersey’s source in the GOP Senate caucus said that the 10 Senators who stood with Kean were concerned that O’Toole was “too close to the Governor” and would have endangered the “co-equal” character of the executive branch.
Trenton really has been turned upside down. Christie no longer has the only Republican spine in the Statehouse.
Senators Joe Kyrillos, Mike Doherty, Dawn Addiego, Kip Bateman and Steve Oroho voted with O’Toole.