State Sen. Tom Kean Jr. has conceded the 7th Congressional District election to Democratic incumbent Tom Malinowski, who will be sworn to a second term in the House of Representatives in January, 2021.

Down by more than 11 percent on Election Night, Kean and his supporters held out hope as the margin narrowed over the past two weeks as the paper ballots were counted by election officials in the six counties that comprise the central New Jersey district - Somerset, Hunterdon, Morris, Union, Warren and Essex.

Kean narrowed the gap to 5,000 votes, but he ran out of time and ballots.

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With 98 percent of the voting precincts reporting, the vote totals show Malinowski with 216,965 votes (50.58 percent) and Kean with 211,972 votes (49.42 percent), a difference of 4,993 votes.

Kean sent out a short note to his supporters via email at 8 p.m. Thursday:

"The votes have been counted in NJ-7 and Tom Malinowski has won this election. 

"Congressman Malinowski has my congratulations and my commitment for a bipartisan partnership in my capacity in the New Jersey Senate as we both continue to represent New Jersey in difficult times.  

"The one percent margin between Rep. Malinowski and myself demonstrates the desire for strong leadership, but also for the need to find bipartisan solutions to the challenges facing our country right now.  Our nation and the people of this Congressional district need to look forward.

"I am proud of the campaign we ran and incredibly thankful for all of our supporters. I am overwhelmed by the amount of time, energy and resources that were invested into my campaign.  Rhonda and I will be forever grateful for your generosity, support and friendship.

Be safe,

Tom Kean, Jr."