Home>Campaigns>Dems spending money to save DCCC chair in N.J.-adjacent district

Assemblyman Mike Lawler, a candidate for Congress in New York's 17th district. (Photo: Mike Lawler).

Dems spending money to save DCCC chair in N.J.-adjacent district

Republican Mike Lawler is a political consultant with ties to New Jersey

By David Wildstein, October 24 2022 8:40 pm

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Sean Patrick Maloney faces a tough re-election fight in New York’s 17th district against a Republican with close ties to New Jersey.

Michael Lawler is a partner at Checkmate Strategies, a political consulting firm headed by New Jersey GOP strategist Chris Russell.  The firm ran Jack Ciattarelli’s campaign for governor in 2021, and Lawler has worked directly for a number of New Jersey Republicans, including State Sen. Holly Schepisi (R-River Vale).

With the race tightening and Republican super PACs pouring millions into the district, which borders Bergen County and extends into the Hudson Valley, the DCCC is now putting $600,000 into the 17th district against Lawler, a one-term assemblyman whose Pearl River home is just 4 minutes away from the New York/New Jersey border in Montvale.

The Cook Political Report changed the rating on the race in NY-17 from Lean Democrats to Toss-Up today.

There is some irony to the DCCC’s decision to shift resources to Maloney’s own campaign.  Among the beneficiaries could be Tom Kean, Jr., who is challenging Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) in New Jersey’s 7th district.  The DCCC has not committed to a significant ad buy for Malinowski; Kean’s top strategist is Harrison Neely, who previously Lawler’s business partner at Checkmate.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is headlining a $150-per-person fundraising breakfast for Lawler tomorrow morning.

That too is ironic.

In 2014, while Christie was serving as the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, Lawler was managing the campaign of Rob Astorino, the Westchester County Executive and the GOP nominee against Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Christie, who has enjoyed a close friendship with Cuomo, to refused spend RGA funds on the New York gubernatorial race, dismissing it as a lost cause.  Astorino called on Christie to resign.

The Maloney campaign blasted Lawler for bringing in Christie.

“Mike Lawler and Chris Christie are two peas in a pod: corrupt, self-serving career politicians who were willing to become yes-men for Trump if it meant a path to power, said Mia Ehrenberg, a spokesperson for the Maloney campaign.  “If Lawler thinks New Yorkers in the Hudson Valley want to hear what a New Jersey politician thinks about our communities, he is in for quite a surprise. Christie’s visit is further proof that Lawler is just a lackey for national MAGA Republicans who are working to ban abortion nationwide and cut Social Security.”

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