Home>Campaigns>Flanagan fundraising flop: just $1,500 raised in bid to unseat Andy Kim

Tricia Flanagan. (Image: NJ Globe via Arsenal Media Group).

Flanagan fundraising flop: just $1,500 raised in bid to unseat Andy Kim

Commercial that said Kim ‘wasn’t one of us’ represents unusual failure by Arsenal Media Group

By David Wildstein, October 20 2021 8:51 pm

Perennial candidate Tricia Flanagan reported raising a paltry $1,577 since announcing her bid to unseat Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) last July, despite hiring a high-profile media company to produce a campaign video intended to raise money.

The ad represents a rare failure by Arsenal Media Group, a national firm that has helped several unknown candidates attract wide audiences – and an expanded digital fundraising – for their ads. That’s the same firm that helped former GOP gubernatorial candidate Phil Rizzo to nearly qualify for matching funds.

Flanagan reported no campaign expenses or debt. That indicates that either Arsenal didn’t charge her for their production work, or that Flanagan didn’t report it.

The commercial features a gavel-wielding Flanagan saying that she wants to “take the gavel out of Nancy Pelosi’s hands.”

“I’ll do it myself if you give me that chance,” she says.

But another statement by Flanagan – that Kim is “not one of us” –  drew a harsh rebuke from the two-term congressman, the only Asian American to represent New Jersey in the U.S. House of Representatives.

’Not one of us’ are words that make it sound like I don’t belong here,” Kim said on Twitter.

“’Not one of us’ are words my immigrant parents heard all too often that caused them to be reluctant to talk in public for fear of having someone mock their accents despite living here in America for 50 years,” Kim continued. “Not one of us’ are words that echo and enable the taunts that my five-year-old boy experienced when a bigger kid kept calling him Chinese Boy.”

Flanagan, who has lost U.S. Senate races in 2018 as an independent and 2020 as a Republican, lives in Princeton, which is outside the 3rd district.

Her meager fundraising was mocked by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“Tricia Flanagan’s campaign is not only increasingly desperate but also incompetent,” said James Singer, a DCCC spokesman. “It is hard to imagine anyone in New Jersey taking this embarrassing campaign seriously.”

Two other Republicans – Mount Holly school board member Will Monk and Rev. Shawn Hyland, the former executive director of the Family Policy Alliance of New Jersey – are also seeking the nomination to take on Kim, who has amassed a $2.7 million warchest.

Flanagan has had issues with her campaign finance report before. She filed late six times in her last Senate race, and claimed $400,000 worth of campaign assets even though she reported raising just $785 and spending only $254.

In February 2021, the Federal Election Commission told Flanagan that she might face an investigation and civil penalties if she didn’t immediately file missing information.

“It has come to the attention of the Federal Election Commission that you may have failed to file the above referenced report of receipts and disbursements or failed to file a report covering the entire reporting period,” the commission told Flanagan in a letter. “The failure to timely file a complete report may result in civil money penalties, an audit or legal enforcement action.”

Flanagan never responded to the FEC letter.

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