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Rep. Christopher Smith (R-Hamilton) told the New Jersey Globe today that he will “enthusiastically” seek re-election to a 21st term in Congress next year.
“I’ve never been more enthusiastic about a job in my life,” Smith said. “I hope to have another decade here. I love it that much.”
Smith became the only Republican in the New Jersey congressional delegation earlier this year after Democrats flipped four House seats in the 2018 mid-term elections.
The 4th district congressman pushed back on speculation that he might retire after twelve House Republicans – some from competitive districts – have said that they will not seek re-election in 2020. Smith said the same thing happened in 2018 when MoveOn.org tried to raise money by speculating that he would not run again.
“It’s a type of smear,” Smith said of retirement rumors. “It’s factually untrue. It’s unethical.”
Smith told the Globe that he’s written more laws than 433 other members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including three that were signed last year. He expects his Autism bill to become law this year.
“I have more enthusiasm, not less, than in my early years,” Smith said. “I get things done.”
Another indication of Smith’s decision to seek re-election: his first and second-quarter fundraising numbers have been more active than usual this cycle. He has $319,122 cash-on-hand.
Democrats thought they had a shot at beating Smith last year when Democrat Josh Welle raised $1.8 million, the often underestimated Smith raised $1.5 million and won by 12 percentage points.
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.
Now 66, Smith is still younger than five other New Jersey House members, including freshman Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-Dennis).
The 4th is the only House district in New Jersey to become more Republican over the last decade.
So far, Smith has no announced opponents. Among the Democrats mulling a challenge: David Applefield, a former writer for the Financial Times; lobbyist Tiffany Kaszuba; holistic business and leadership coach Christine Conforti; and former Asbury Park Councilman Jim Keady, who lost Democratic House primaries in 2017 and 2018.