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Former Asbury Park Councilman Jim Keady

Keady will take second shot at Smith

Bernie Sanders supporter says he’ll run ‘progressive, grassroots’ campaign in 4th district

By David Wildstein, November 11 2019 8:43 pm

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Former Asbury Park Councilman Jim Keady will again seek the Democratic nomination for Congress in New Jersey’s 4th district.

Keady announced his bid to challenge Rep. Christopher Smith (R-Hamilton) on Twitter earlier today, saying he will run a “bold, progressive, grassroots campaign that is part of the Bernie Sanders political revolution.”

This is Keady’s third run for the House.

He raised $290,908 to challenge Smith in 2018, but lost the Democratic primary to Josh Welle by 4,223 votes, 57%-43%.

In 2016, he ran in the neighboring 3rd district, where Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-Toms River) was seeking a second term.  He lost the primary to Frederick LaVergne by a 63%-37% margin.

The race to take on Smith, who is seeking his 21st term in Congress, has already begun to take shape.

Stephanie Schmid, a former U.S. Department of State official who left her post as U.S. Foreign Policy Counsel to the Center for Reproductive Rights to run, has already raised over $100,000.  So has former journalist David Applefield, whose $134,494 is 89% self-funded.

Lobbyist Tiffany Kaszuba and former United Nations project manager Christine Conforti are also in the race to take on Smith.

If Smith wins re-election, he would set the record as the longest-serving congressman in New Jersey history.

With 21,686 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 Welle raised $1.8 million, the often underestimated GOP congressman raised $1.5 million and won by 12 percentage points.

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