Phil Rizzo, a former pastor and 2021 Republican gubernatorial candidate, announced today that he raised $160,000 during the 1st quarter in his bid for the 7th congressional district.
That total puts him well behind the frontrunner in the Republican primary, former Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield), who raised $840,000 during the first three months of the year. Incumbent Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes), meanwhile, had a $1.06 million Q1 haul.
In a statement, Rizzo’s campaign attempted to frame his 1st quarter haul as a victory, saying that the money he’s raised will allow his campaign to raise awareness of Kean’s “leftist voting record.”
“That number speaks volumes about our momentum,” Rizzo said. “This is a campaign of the people, who are ready to take back our Congress. We’ve had enough of the status quo, leftist extremism, and a weak Republican establishment.”
Rizzo’s gubernatorial campaign in 2021 cemented him as a figure in the Trump-focused wing of the Republican Party, and his congressional campaign has the endorsement of notorious Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) – but he evidently has not been able to translate that celebrity into a firm fundraising base.
In total, Rizzo has raised around $215,000 since launching his campaign in the 11th district; he switched districts in January after congressional redistricting reshaped the state’s boundaries. Malinowski has raised an overall $4.6 million this cycle and Kean has raised $1.1 million, though both have been running for longer than Rizzo.
Rizzo said that he had around $155,000 in cash-on-hand, once again putting him significantly behind his top opponents: Kean has $1.5 million cash-on-hand and Malinowski has $3.5 million.
Kean, who lost to Malinowski by just one percentage point in 2020, has the endorsement of the 7th district’s six county Republican parties for his rematch campaign. Also running for the Republican nod are Assemblyman Erik Peterson (R-Franklin), businessman John Henry Isemann, Fredon Mayor John Flora, retired U.S. Navy officer Sterling Irwin Schwab, and licensed public works contractor Kevin Dorlon.
This story was updated at 11:33 a.m. with Rizzo’s cash-on-hand total.