Rep.-elect Thomas H. Kean Jr. is the first Kean to win a congressional seat since 1956 and the first in his family to unseat an incumbent since 1938.
Some history of the Keene family as it relates to congressional campaigns:
* This is Keane Jr.’s second run for the 7th District House seat. He ran in 2000 when Representative Bob Franks gave up his seat to run for the U.S. Senate, but lost the Republican primary by 3,390 votes.
* Tom Kean Sr. ran for Congress in 1974 when Rep. Peter Frelinghuysen resigned. Assembly Minority Leader and former Speaker Keane lost the Republican primary to Millicent Fenwick by 83 votes. He was elected governor on a second try seven years later and reelected with a record 70% in 1985.
* Robert W. Keane, father of the former governor, won the Republican nomination for Congress in 1938 by 713 votes against Montclair Commissioner Dallas Townsend. In 1938, he defeated freshman Democratic candidate Frank Towey Jr. (D-Caldwell) by 12,118 votes, 55%-41%. Keane was re-elected nine times before giving up his seat to run for an open U.S. Senate seat in 1958.
* Hamilton Fish Keene, father of Robert Keene, lost the 1924 Republican US Senate primary. He ran again four years later and unseated freshman Edward Edwards, a former governor, by a margin of 58% to 42%. Governor A. Harry Moore beat him 58-41% when he sought a second term in 1934.
* John Kean, brother of Hamilton Kean, ran for Congress in 1882 and defeated Miles Ross, a former mayor of New Brunswick who had served four terms as president, by a margin of 48-41%. He lost his seat two years later to former Elizabeth City Councilman Robert Stockton Green by a 51%-46% margin. Greene gave up his seat to run for governor in 1886 – he won – and Keane won back his seat in the House in a 47%-45% victory over Democrat William McMahon. He lost the seat again in 1888 when Democrat Jacob Geisenheimer beat him 52-46%.
John Kean was the Republican candidate for governor in 1892, but lost the general election. He was elected to the US Senate in 1899 and was reelected in 1905. He did not see re-election for a third term.
* John Keene, great-great-grandfather of Tom Keene, Jr., was elected to represent South Carolina in the Continental Congress in 1785. He served two years and later accepted President George Washington’s appointment as cashier of the bank. USA in Philadelphia.