Hassan Shehadeh has dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination for Congress in New Jersey’s 4th district, where Rep. Christopher Smith (R-Hamilton) is seeking re-election to a 21st term.
“I would like to withdraw my candidacy for NJ CD4,” Shehadeh said in an message to the Federal Election Commission. “I have not raised or spend more than $5,000 in contributions.”
Four Democrats now remain in the race to challenge Smith: former U.S. Department of State official Stephanie Schmid, former Asbury Park Councilman Jim Keady, retired journalist David Applefield, and former United Nations staffer Christine Conforti.
Schmid announced last week that she raised over $100,000 in the 4th quarter of last year and more than $200,000 since announcing her candidacy.
Another Democrat, lobbyist Tiffany Kaszuba, ended her congressional bid last year amidst complaints that party leaders failed to tell her that Bill Robinson pleaded guilty to stalking several women in 1996. Robinson was forced to resign his post as a Democratic State Committeeman from Monmouth County.
If Smith wins re-election, he would set the record as the longest-serving congressman in New Jersey history.
With 22,099 more Republicans than Democrats, the 4th is the only House district in New Jersey to become more Republican over the last decade. When the last map was drawn after the 2010 census, the district had 12,193 more Republicans than Democrats.
Smith was first elected to Congress in 1980, at age 27, after thirteen-term Rep. Frank B. Thompson, Jr. (D-Trenton) was indicted as part of the Abscam scandal. Smith won, 57%-41%, in a district that Ronald Reagan carried by three points.
Democrats thought they had a shot at beating Smith last year when Democrat Josh Welle raised $1.8 million, the often underestimated GOP congressman raised $1.5 million and won by 12 percentage points.