Tom Kean Jr. has been handed a lot in his time in politics. Since being beaten by Mike Ferguson in the Republican primary in 2000, Kean Jr. was appointed to fill a vacant NJ Assembly seat, won an election and then appointed to a vacant NJ State Senate seat. In each case, he had to be appointed to the seat before he could win it from the electorate.
Now Kean Jr. is running for the United States Senate, a seat that Bob Menendez was appointed to when Jon Corzine vacated it to become Governor. The challenge appears to be pretty tough on the young State Senator, since Kean Jr. is giving up an important committee seat he holds as a State Senator to take an easier, less controversial gig.
With a U.S. Senate campaign to wage, state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. (R- Union) is giving up his seat on the powerful but time-consuming Senate budget committee for a spot on the judiciary committee.
Kean will trade seats with one of the major forces of the judiciary committee: Sen. William Gormley (R-Atlantic), who has served on that panel for 22 years and was once its high-profile chairman. …
After Gov. Jon Corzine presents his budget March 21, the budget committee will hold nearly two months of hearings as other lawmakers take a break. The annual June budget scramble follows. Without his budget responsibilities, Kean will have more far time to devote to his statewide race against Democratic U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez.
The switch has other implications. Kean will be able to duck some politically dicey budget talks …
If Kean Jr. doesn’t think that he can do his job as a State Senator and run for the United States Senate then he should resign and campaign full-time. But this halfway measure, giving up a plum assignment that can deliver resources directly to his constituents, in order to duck tough choices and hard work just shows he is already overtaxed and we haven’t even reached the primary yet.
Bob Menendez, on the other hand, accepted a tougher position by moving up from the House to the Senate. Instead of representing 650,000 people in a small area of Northeast Jersey, he now represents 8,400,000 people in the entire state.