Rep. Christopher Smith (R-Hamilton) is raising money off a threat by the Democratic State Chairman that he’s looking to flip New Jersey’s lone Republican congressional seat from red to blue.
“Chris Smith, we’re coming for you,” InsiderNJ reported John Currie as saying in Thursday at the New Jersey Democratic State Committee Conference in Atlantic City.
The Smith campaign told supporters that Currie’s comments show that the 20-term congressman “has a target on his back.”
“After spending almost $2 million in 2018 to attempt to unseat Chris, the Dems are doubling down in their quest to turn New Jersey completely blue and to defeat the strongest voice on Capitol Hill for our shared values,” Smith’s campaign said.
In 2018, Democrats nominated Josh Welle, a retired U.S. Navy officer who voted in Virginia in 2016 and 2017, to run against Smith. Welle raised $1.8 million and Smith beat him by 36,299 votes, 55%-43%.
Three Democrats have entered the race to take on Smith, who would set a record for the longest-serving House member in New Jersey history if he wins re-election next year.
Former U.S. Department of State foreign service officer Stephanie Schmid, lobbyist Tiffany Kaszuba, and former journalist David Applefield are already seeking support for the Democratic nomination in New Jersey’s 4th district. Former Asbury Park Councilman Jim Keady, who lost a primary to Welle last year, is also reportedly mulling a bid.
Chris, even in the minority, continues to get results in protecting human rights at home and abroad and in finding solutions to chronic illnesses,” the GOP campaign said. “His constituent service continues to be the best in the nation.”
With 21,635 more Republicans than Democrats, the 4th is the only House district in New Jersey to become more Republican over the last decade. When the last map was drawn after the 2010 census, the district had 12,193 more Republicans than Democrats.
“We can’t let the radical left defeat Chris. We need to send a strong early message that Chris Smith’s supporters are as tenacious and committed as he is,” Smith’s campaign told donors. “We need to once again help Chris knock them back.”
Smith was first elected to Congress in 1980, at age 27, after thirteen-term Rep. Frank B. Thompson, Jr. (D-Trenton) was indicted as part of the Abscam scandal. Smith won, 57%-41%, in a district that Ronald Reagan carried by three points.
Democrats flipped four House seats in 2018, giving them an 11-1 edge in the New Jersey House delegation.