The Scene behind the scene in the GOP caucus room

Republican state senators ripped Gov. Chris Christie’s political strategists behind the scenes as they defended state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R-21) and restored him to another term as Senate minority leader, according to sources in the caucus room.

State Sen. Sam Thompson (R-18), the chairman of the Middlesex County GOP, Sen. Chris Connors (R-11) and Sen. Bob Singer (R-30) all contributed to a lively caucus discussion with criticism of the governor’s re-election strategy.

It should be noted that a source close to Singer later told PolitickerNJ.com that the senator was positive about Kean only, not critical of the governor’s campaign.

Members questioned the bipartisan messaging coming out of the governor’s campaign, and cited that as a factor in Kean’s added burden.

Caucus members said they appreciated Kean’s efforts to build the party while up against the massive challenge of a legislative map not in the GOP’s favor.

Ten of the caucus’s 16 senators agreed that Kean would handle Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) better than would Kean’s challenger, state Sen. Kevin O’Toole (R-40), a staunch inner circle ally of the governor’s.

Standing with O’Toole in defeat were state Sen. Mike Doherty (R-23), state Sen. Dawn Addiego (R-8), Sen. Kip Bateman (R-16), Sen. Steve Oroho (R-24) and state Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R-13).

"It’s not a political environment that’s particularly warm for incumbents, but it looks like Booker has little to be worried about as the campaign season draws to a close."
—Krista Jenkins, poll director and professor of political science, FDU.