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NJ-1 Democratic candidate Mario DeSantis. (Photo: Mario DeSantis).

Norcross primary challenger has paltry $3k fundraising quarter

Mario DeSantis has been unable to catch on against Democratic congressman

By Joey Fox, April 14 2022 9:05 am

Mario DeSantis, a Democrat waging a primary campaign against Rep. Donald Norcross (D-Camden) in the 1st congressional district, continued his lackluster fundraising last quarter and raised a total of just $3,161. DeSantis has raised $6,213 overall since he launched his campaign in September, and currently has $1,980 in the bank.

In a statement, DeSantis seemed to acknowledge that his fundraising was far from ideal, but emphasized that the existing campaign finance system is in broader need of reform.

“We’re often told we have the ability to change the world through the political process, but the reality is our elections aren’t usually won by candidates who propose the best policies; they’re won by candidates who have the strongest financial resources,” he said. “Such an electoral finance system is offensive to the most fundamental principles of a legitimate democracy and it’s a system I completely reject.”

DeSantis made his first foray into the South Jersey political world in 2021, when he announced he would challenge then-Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) in the Democratic primary. That campaign ended just a day later, however, after DeSantis failed to get the 100 signatures necessary to appear on the ballot.

Just as he did in 2021, DeSantis is running this year as a progressive opposed to the South Jersey Democratic political machine, though many of that machine’s frequent opponents like the New Jersey Working Families Party have stayed on the sidelines so far. The last time Norcross faced a contested primary, in 2018, he beat two unheralded challengers 84-10-6%.

Norcross hasn’t yet released his 1st quarter fundraising numbers; in last year’s 4th quarter, the congressman raised $428,000 and reported $2.66 million in cash-on-hand. Two Republicans are also running in the 1st district, both of whom have yet to release any fundraising reports whatsoever.

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