In 2018, when Democrats flipped four New Jersey House seats and won control of the U.S. House, a key ingredient to the party’s success was fundraising. Democratic challengers running in longtime Republican districts raised millions upon millions of dollars, creating a “green wave” that helped propel them to victory.
This year, as Republicans hope to regain control of the House, the inverse hasn’t really been true. Republican candidates haven’t outraised their Democratic opponents in any seats except the two they already control, and in some potentially competitive races, Democrats have built up colossal financial advantages.
Two of the Republican candidates who have been most starkly outraised, however, said today that they aren’t daunted by the flood of money their opponents have unleashed.
“[Rep.] Mikie Sherrill has more resources than me, but let’s look at what she’s done,” former Assistant Passaic County Prosecutor and 11th district nominee Paul DeGroot said today following a joint press conference with other Republican congressional candidates. “People in this district are hurting… No matter what resources she has, she has to be confronted with the things that she has failed to do.”
As of the most recent fundraising report, Sherrill had $3.4 million in the bank, while DeGroot had just $279,000, much of which came from self-funding. That disparity has allowed Sherrill to hit the TV airwaves uncontested with three consecutive ads, while DeGroot has relied instead on more analog campaign methods like mailers and doorknocking.
“How can I blunt her? I am out everywhere,” DeGroot said. “On a Saturday or a Sunday, I’m campaigning 10 to 12 hours a day… Paul DeGroot is everywhere. Mikie Sherrill is not. She comes in and she comes out – she leaves.”
Next door in the 5th congressional district, former investment banker Frank Pallotta faces Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff), dubbed the Human Fundraising Machine for his prodigious money-raising abilities. Though Pallotta hasn’t deployed many of the personal resources that fueled his unsuccessful 2020 campaign against Gottheimer, he said he’s got the more compelling message.
“At the end of the day, you need three M’s: money, the message, and the messenger,” Pallotta said. “I absolutely think that Republicans have a better message. I feel as though I’m the better messenger. Josh clearly has more money – he’s going to need it.”
Pallotta also indicated that he may deploy some of his own money in the race’s final stretch, which could go a long way towards evening the disparity with Gottheimer. Gottheimer’s most recent fundraising report listed him as having a gigantic $14 million war chest compared to Pallotta’s $171,000, and Pallotta has yet to air any ads on TV.
“We’re going to have the money we need to get the message out,” Pallotta said. “I have put money in the campaign; I’ll put more in the campaign. We’ll put forth what we need to put forth to get the message out.”