Kean Hangs On To Senate Republican Leadership Position

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State Sen. Tom Kean Jr.

State Sen. Tom Kean Jr.

TRENTON – Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean Jr. managed to hang on to his leadership position, despite pressure from Gov. Chris Christie for change, according to a Politicker NJ report.

Kean (R-Union) released a letter yesterday showing support from 11 of 16 Republican state Senators, but Christie was maneuvering to reward state Sen. Kevin O’Toole (R-Passaic) with the position, according to the report.

Despite Christie’s 22-point victory in Tuesday’s election, Republicans failed to gain a single seat in the state Senate. Kean clashed with Christie ally, state Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester), by making his legislative district a target to make Republican gains even though Christie was taking a “hands off” approach in South Jersey.

In a statement, Sweeney said, “New Jersey voters returned all 24 Democratic senators because they know we will continue to fight for middle class families. That’s not what Tom Kean, Jr. or the Republican senate minority caucus represents, which was made clear today. I could ask for no better minority leader than the one whose own strategy cemented their place as the minority party in this state.”

Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson) was named Assembly Speaker, becoming only the second Cuban-American to hold the leadership post. He replaces Sheila Oliver (D-Essex), who held the position since 2010 but clashed with Sweeney and lost party support.

Sweeney, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-Camden) and Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Union) all kept their positions.

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