Mike Crispi, a conservative podcaster seeking to deny renomination to Rep. Chris Smith (R-Manchester), reported raising $95,770 in the first quarter of 2022, with $37,330 of that total coming from the candidate himself; he has $35,846 left in cash-on-hand.
Smith raised $264,010 during the same time period, and has an $825,347 warchest.
Crispi entered the race in January with the backing of conservative consultant and provocateur Roger Stone, so this quarter presented the first opportunity for the pair to demonstrate their fundraising abilities.
Another Republican candidate running against Smith, realtor Michael Blasi, raised $27,902 and has an $18,345 warchest. Blasi has been nothing if not consistent; this is his third time in a row reporting a quarterly fundraising total of between $20,000 and $30,000.
Steve Gray, a third challenger who has made fewer waves than Crispi or Blasi, has not yet reported his first quarter fundraising numbers. Neither has Matt Jenkins, a small businessman and the lone Democrat to file for New Jersey’s most Republican congressional district.
At one point, the field of Republican challengers seeking to take on Smith was much larger, but the primary has steadily hemorrhaged candidates since the new year began. Rev. Shawn Hyland, Englishtown Councilman Daniel Francisco, and attorney David Burg each dropped out and endorsed a different candidate – Hyland for Smith, Francisco for Crispi, Burg for Blasi – while two perennial candidates, Tricia Flanagan and Robert Shapiro, were kicked off the ballot for having insufficient signatures.
This story was updated at 5:13 p.m. with a correction: Crispi’s fundraising was around $96,000, not $65,000, due to a $30,000 loan the candidate himself made.