None of the Republican candidates looking to take on Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) in New Jersey’s 11th district are setting the fundraising world on fire, with just two of the six candidates in the race so far hitting the six-figure mark after the fourth quarter of 2021.
The top raiser is Morris County Commissioner Tayfun Selen, who brought in $159,084 after five months as a congressional candidate. He has $136,063 in his warchest.
Former assistant Passaic County Prosecutor Paul DeGroot, who won the Passaic County organization line last week, has raised $112,115 and has banked $105,913. He joined the race in September.
A third candidate, former Kinnelon Councilman Larry Casha, fell just short of the $100,000 mark. He raised $94,675 since becoming a House candidate in October and has $73,572 in his campaign account.
Robert Kovic, an attorney and former Ridgefield Park councilman who now lives in Sussex County, has been in the race since April. He’s raised $38,815, with $15,424, but now he’s hired consultant Steve Kush, the architect of Ed Durr’s defeat of Steve Sweeney – and he’s been endorsed by Durr.
Two other candidates, attorney Larry Friscia and U.S. Army veteran Toby Anderson, didn’t enter the race until January and are not required to release their donors until April.
The Republican contest could shift dramatically if two prospective candidates decide to run: Assemblywoman Aura Dunn (R-Mendham) and Morris County Surrogate Heather Darling.
The 11th district race has already seen four exits. Tom Toomey went to the 6th, Phil Rizzo is now running in the 7th, and Patrick Quinn switched to the 9th. Hillary Brotschol withdrew from the race last week after raising no money in the fourth quarter of last year.
Fundraising prowess might be a selling feature to Morris County GOP county committee members when they hold their convention to award the organization line, but the candidate who emerges with the Morris endorsement will immediately become the front-runner.
Sherrill has $5,077,674 cash-on-hand as she seeks a third term in Congress in a seat Republicans held for 34 years until she flipped it in 2018. The 11th became better for Sherrill in redistricting, adding Democratic strongholds like Dover, Millburn, Maplewood and South Orange.
As a first-time candidate, Sherrill raised over $1.2 million by the end of 2017. That helped frighten House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen into retirement.
Still, the seat is competitive enough to give Republicans a path if President Joe Biden’s mid-term were to be a disaster for the Democrats.