POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

Democrats overwhelmingly out-fundraising GOP congressional candidates

BY Michael Aron, Chief Political Correspondent |

The money in the fall election is going overwhelmingly to the Democrats. All five New Jersey Republican seats and one Democratic seat are considered in play.

The Democratic seat is Josh Gottheimer’s. He out raised Republican John McCann by 15 to 1 in the latest reporting period. He has $4.5 million on hand to McCann’s $6,400.

In District 2, Democrat Jeff Van Drew raised $377,000 to Seth Grossman’s $62,000 and has 12 times more cash on hand.

In District 3, Democrat Andy Kim raised 2.5 times more than Republican incumbent Tom MacArthur.

In District 4, little-known Democrat Josh Welle doubled the fundraising of veteran Congressman Chris Smith.

In District 7, Democratic challenger Tom Malinowski raised $784,000 to incumbent Leonard Lance’s $301,000.

And in District 11, Democrat Mikie Sherrill raised six times more than Republican Jay Webber and has $2.9 million cash on hand to Webber’s $171,000.

“I’m not surprised at all because anti-Trump sentiment is one of the biggest attractions for Democratic fundraising they have had in years and that’s the big motivator,” said Alan Steinberg, a columnist for Insider NJ.

Steinberg, a lifelong Republican, announced this week that he’ll vote for and root for the Democrats this year.

“I am extremely anti-Donald Trump. I think he is the greatest threat to constitutional government in my lifetime. I think that he appeals to the worst in people. I think he appeals to the racism and bigotry in people. I think that he also has horrific policies. His trade policies are right out of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1931,” Steinberg said. “We need a Democratic House and Senate so that they will hold Trump accountable. He’s a very dangerous individual.”

While Steinberg isn’t surprised by the Democrats’ fundraising lead, Seton Hall University political science professor Matt Hale is.

“I am surprised. I think that a couple of them we probably could have predicted. Mikie Sherrill is a rock star candidate. She is exactly the sort of resume that seems to be very popular among Democratic voters, so we expected, sort of, that one. I am a little bit surprised in the 4th and in the 3rd. Those are pretty big advantages for the Democratic candidates,” Hale said.

Hale says the Democrats running for Congress are all centrists and that helps them, along with anti-Trump sentiment. He says all five Republicans “could” lose.

“I think we have to be a little cautious in a couple different ways. Tom MacArthur can self-fund, so he can keep up in the 3rd District. And Chris Smith is a long-term, very popular congressman, so those are still going to be tough seats. But this is a big Democratic advantage across the state,” Hale said.

“It says to me that the Democrats can make some very effective challenges in seats that the Republicans hold. They are likely to win in the 11th district with Mikie Sherrill. She is a star-quality candidate. I think she has national possibilities, actually, or the possibility of someday running for governor of New Jersey. And they are certain to win in the Jeff Van Drew district where he is running to be the successor to Frank LoBiondo,” Steinberg said.

Overall in the six competitive House races, Democrats have $11.8 million in the bank, Republicans have $3.1 million.

“There is definitely a national blue wave coming. There is no doubt in my mind that the Democrats are going to take the House of Representatives. The U.S. Senate is harder,” Steinberg said.

As Trump goes, so goes New Jersey.