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House Candidate Stephanie Schmid. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

Schmid nearly out of money trying to win Democratic primary

Chris Smith has 13-1 financial advantage over possible challenger

By David Wildstein, June 25 2020 8:57 pm

A Democrat trying to stop Rep. Christopher Smith’s 40-year winning streak has already burned through most of her money trying to win the July 7 primary.

Stephanie Schmid has just $51,806 cash-on-hand after raising $324,813 for her bid to challenge Smith, a 20-term incumbent in New Jersey’s only solidly Republican congressional district.

A former U.S. Department of State official who interned in Smith’s Washington office as a teenager, Schmid brought in only $44,743 between April 1 and June 17.

Smith has raised $954,888 in his bid for a 21st term.  From April 1 to June 17, he brought in $104,993 and has $647,469 in his warchest – almost thirteen times what Schmid has.

Schmid had touted her fundraising prowess to Democrats at the start of the campaign, suggesting that her State Department network and contracts from the Center for Reproductive Rights would make her a strong candidate against Smith.

She had raised $202,256 by the end of 2019, a number strong enough to help her secure organization lines in Monmouth and Ocean counties, and a place on the Mercer line.

At the same point in 2018, Democrat Josh Welle had $326,906 cash-on-hand for his race against Smith in the 4th district, and wound up raising $1.8 million total in a Democratic wave election.  Smith raised $1.5 million and won by 12 percentage points.

Two other Democrats are competing with Schmid for the nomination.

David Applefield has banked $30,130.  He brought in $19,603 during the same time period and has raised $241,734 total, including a $190,000 personal loan.

Christine Conforti, a former United Nations staffer who won the Mercer County Democratic convention, has $7,774 in the bank.  She raised $7,320 during the last 2 ½ months and $21,471 total.

Schmid skipped a Democratic debate this week sponsored by the Asbury Park Press.

On January 3,2021, Smith is set to tie Rep. Peter W. Rodino’s record for the greatest number of years in the House.  If he’s re-elected this year, he’ll break the record as soon as he takes the oath of office for his 21st term in Congress.

With 22,296 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.

The 4th is also the only congressional district in the state where Republicans outnumber 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.

Smith was the lone Republican in the New Jersey congressional delegation for most of 2019.  Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis) joined him when he switched parties last December.

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