August 24, 2005


Kean's move to the center could mean a challenge from the right (STEVE KORNACKI, 8/24/05,

It is hard— very hard— to imagine that the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate next year will be anyone but Tom Kean Jr., whose candidacy is being enthusiastically embraced by party leaders in New Jersey and Washington.

But as he quietly goes about raising money and traveling the county GOP circuit, Kean does face something of a balancing act, because the more he flashes the centrist credentials that make him a strategist's dream candidate in the fall, the more he risks provoking a fight within his own party for the nomination.

"I don't think we're going to have an uncontested primary here," said Assemblyman Michael Doherty, one of a handful of conservative Republican lawmakers from the northwest part of the state known collectively as "the mountain men."

"If it gets to November or December and there's only one guy in the race for the nomination, I think someone's going to jump in," said Doherty. "And I think it's going to be a conservative."

Taking on the 36-year-old Kean would seem on paper to be a futile task for a fellow Republican.

The GOP has kept trying to get his father to win one of those Senate seats, hopefully the son can.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 24, 2005 6:32 PM
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