The two Republicans engulfed in a bitter primary battle for the chance to take flip a congressional seat in a district Donald Trump carried by six points are both struggling to raise money, including one candidate who is a self-funder.
David Richter, the former CEO of one of the nation’s largest construction firms, raised just $27,198 between March 1 and June 17 and has $206,624 left in the bank.
Richter has raised $799,474, including a $600,000 loan he made to his own campaign.
His rival for the Republican nomination to take on freshman Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) in the fall, Kate Gibbs, raised $64,902 during roughly the same time period and has $82,308 cash-on-hand.
Gibbs, a labor leader and former Burlington County freeholder director, has brought in $283,902 since entering the race last fall. That includes a $10,000 personal loan.
Richter has outspent Gibbs significantly, and by a 3-1 margin since March 1. Richter spent $282,070 while Gibbs spent $94,522 during the same time period.
In total, Richter has spent $591,849 – that number includes $114,526 while challenging Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis) last year – while Gibbs has gone through $201,594.
A Princeton resident, Richter went to the 2nd district last year to challenge Van Drew, then a freshman Democratic congressman.
He got clipped out of the race after Van Drew switched parties and won the endorsement of Trump and most GOP party leaders.
Instead, Richter decided to run in the 3rd, where Gibbs had been recruited by national Republicans and appeared to have locked up the nomination.
With the promise of his own money and fundraising connections, Ocean County Republicans narrowly gave their organization line to Richter, even though Gibbs had won a vote of the GOP screening committee.
Ocean makes up about 52% of the Republican primary electorate. Burlington, where Gibbs has the organization line, is about 48%.
It’s not immediately clear how much deeper Richter is willing to go to self-fund the general election.
According to his personal financial disclosure, most of his wealth is tied to the stock value of the company he used to run, Hill International. Stock prices closed on Thursday at $1.52 per share, down from $3.67 in January when he entered the 3rd district race.
The winner of the July 7 primary election will begin at a severe financial disadvantage against Kim, a former Obama White House staffer who narrowly ousted a Republican congressman in the 2018 mid-term elections.
Kim raised $718,433 between April 1 and June 17 and has $3,249,780 cash-on-hand. He has now raised $4,213,884 since entering Congress in January 2019 without accepting any corporate PAC money.
He defeated Kim two-term Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-Toms River) in 2018 by 3,973 votes (50%-49%) in New Jersey’s closest House race.
As a first-time candidate in the 2018 mid-term elections, Kim raised $6,230,916 – significantly more than MacArthur, who self-funded his first race, who brought in $4,778,480.
New Jersey’s 3rd district has 11,105 more Democrats than Republicans.
Democrats won the seat in 2008, when John Adler (D-Cherry Hill) won following the retirement of twelve-term Rep. Jim Saxton (R-Bordentown). Adler lost ex-NFL star Jon Runyan two years later.
MacArthur won the seat in 2014 after Runyan four years in Washington were enough.