Can Tom Kean Jr. unseat first term Dem Tom Malinowski in NJ 7th District House race?

Will it be third time lucky for Thomas Kean Jr. in the race to win a seat in Washington, D.C.?

Republican Kean is running for the House of Representatives 7th Congressional District seat in Northern New Jersey, against first term Democratic incumbent Tom Malinowski.

Malinowski was elected in 2018, after he defeated four-term incumbent Leonard Lance by a 51.7% to 46.7% margin. The district makes up parts of Hunterdon, Somerset, and Union counties.

Early in the year, Kean Jr. had raised about the same amount of money as Malinowski. But as the year has gone on, the incumbent has outraised his challenger by almost a two-to-one margin, and in close elections, that is going to matter.

Also, Kean Jr., whether he likes it or not, is going to be tied to the very fractious Presidential race campaign of Donald Trump, which is coming down to the wire Tuesday.

This race has been within the margin of error for most of the year, according to polling and forecasts done by the website FiveThirtyEight.com. 

As of October 30, 2020, the site has Malinkowski winning 77 out of 100 elections (when simulated 40,000 times), with Kean Jr. winning just 23. But while the simulation had it 52.1% to 47.9% on October 1 to Malinowski, it is now 53.2% to 46.8% to the incumbent, still inside the margin of error of plus-or-minus four, but just.

Odds

If I were to put odds on the election, I would have to make the Democrat incumbent Malinowski a -170 favorite, with Kean Jr. now drifting out to +150 with just a few days left in the election. But since so many have already sent in their ballots, it may be going against the tide for the Republican challenger.

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