One New Jerseyan is hoping to find a better way of campaigning for the U.S. House of Representatives during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m committed to proving that although political campaigns need cash, what they really need is soul, along with genuine commitment to helping neighbors and rising above the hollow rhetoric and self-serving small-mindedness that has dominated much of New Jersey local politics — even when it concerns federal races,” said David Applefield, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Congress in New Jersey’s 4th district.
Applefield had raised $24,075 during the first quarter of this year before halting his fundraising in early March, saying he felt it was “inappropriate to be asking folks for cash while a major pandemic was accelerating around us.”
The former journalist has raised $232,131 for his bid to challenge 20-term Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-Hamilton) in the 4th district, including a $180,000 loan to his own campaign. He finished March with $54,145 in his campaign account, according to his filing with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday.
Instead, Applefield’s campaign has gone in a different direction.
“I yielded political activities early and began to focus on gathering medical equipment and helping seniors and small businesses,” he told the New Jersey Globe.
Applefield has been the underdog in a three-way race for the Democratic nomination, with former U.S. Department of State official Stephanie Schmid and former United Nations staffer Christine Conforti spending most of the year battling for organization lines.
Schmid walked away with a big convention win in Monmouth and a narrow one in Ocean. Conforti scored an upset victory over Schmid in Mercer.
Along the way, both have burned through their campaign cash at a rapid pace.
Schmid has $79,148 left of the $279,810 she’s raised since announcing her candidacy last summer, according to the Federal Election Commission. Conforti raised $14,151 so far, but her campaign warchest is down to just $434.
“Between now and July 7, I’ll be spending lots of ideas, and bonding with generosity. I’m ready to contribute a bit more from my own earnings and savings, but only if necessary,” Applefield said. “I intend to create some positive surprises, and success stories for a district that has been greatly deprived of original thinking for a long, long time.”
Editor’s note: Schmid’s campaign says they have $90,793 cash-on-hand and the numbers that appear on the Federal Election Commission website are incorrect.