John J. Flora has paid himself back all but $11 of a $5,000 personal loan he made to his forgettable bid for the U.S. House of Representatives.
It’s a commonly used trick in political campaigns: loan yourself money early as sort of an imaginary warchest, but then only spend other people’s money so it doesn’t cost the candidate anything.
A Jersey City public school teacher, Flora received slightly more than 4% of the total vote in his challenge to Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-Newark) in New Jersey’s 10th district
Flora loaned $5,001 to his campaign in June 2019 and raised another $9,896 from other donors. He spent just enough to make sure that he got his own money back.
“My wife and I are forgiving a balance of $11.07 that we loaned the committee,” Flora told the Federal Election commission.
The first-time candidate, who launched his campaign by calling Peter Rodino a “career politician,” spent some of his campaign crowing that he had raised more money in small donations than Payne.
“A candidate’s approach to fundraising reveals a great deal about their responsiveness to constituents,” Flora said.
Payne won renomination with 88% of the vote, with Rutgers law professor Eugene Mazo finishing second with 8%.