Home>Campaigns>Flanagan abandons 3rd district campaign, will challenge Smith instead

Tricia Flanagan. (Image: NJ Globe via Arsenal Media Group).

Flanagan abandons 3rd district campaign, will challenge Smith instead

By Joey Fox, December 17 2021 3:49 pm

Perennial candidate Tricia Flanagan, who unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate as a right-wing candidate in both 2018 and 2020, announced today that she will switch from challenging Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) in the 3rd district to mounting a primary bid against Rep. Chris Smith (R-Hamilton) in the 4th district.

In her announcement, Flanagan cited a call former President Donald Trump made in November for a primary challenger to Smith and the handful of other Republicans who voted for President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill. Flanagan – who lives in Princeton, which is in neither the 3rd nor the 4th district – said the vote demonstrated that the 4th district deserved a more ardently right-wing and pro-Trump representative.

“He’s been in Congress since 1981 and has a full track record of betraying America First values,” Flanagan said of Smith. “That’s why I’m stepping up to answer the Trump call. This will be a win for all America because it will bring us one step closer to the America First MAGA majority we need in Congress, and it will be a fresh start for this congressional district.”

Flanagan faced a tough path to Congress in the 3rd district. She faced two better-known candidates in the Republican primary, Bob Healey and Shawn Hyland, and the eventual winner of the primary will still have to beat a tough opponent in Kim.

But defeating Smith is itself a difficult task; the 21-term congressman won renomination in 2020 with 95% of the vote.

If Flanagan continues with her campaign, it will be the second time in a row Smith has faced a candidate who has run into troubles with the Federal Elections Commission; Flanagan repeatedly filed her Senate fundraising reports late, while Smith’s 2020 Democratic opponent Stephanie Schmid loaned her campaign $100,000 that she failed to properly disclose.

Three other Republicans – Mike Blasi, David Burg, and Englishtown Borough Councilman Daniel Francisco – have already launched primary bids against Smith, and a fourth, talk show host Mike Crispi, may yet announce a campaign.

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