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Democratic congressional candidate Stephanie Schmid. Photo by Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe

Schmid raises $100k in first month as congressional candidate

Former diplomat seeking Democratic nod to challenge Chris Smith

By David Wildstein, September 30 2019 11:23 pm

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Democrat Stephanie Schmid, a former U.S. Department of State official who is seeking to challenge Rep. Christopher Smith (R-Hamilton) in New Jersey’s 4th district, has raised over $100,000 in her first month as a candidate.

With some time still remaining until the books close on the 3rd quarter of 2019, that number could still go up.

The fundraising numbers for Schmid are comparable to freshman Rep. Andy Kim (D-Marlton), who raised $117,000 during his first month as a candidate for Congress in 2017.   Kim raised more than $6.4 million and narrowly defeated two-term Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-Toms River) in 2018.

Smith is seeking re-election to his 21st term in the U.S. House of Representatives.  If he wins re-election, he would set the record as the longest-serving congressman in New Jersey history.

After the first six months of the year, Smith reported $319,122 cash-on-hand.

From 2018 until last month, Schmid served as U.S. Foreign Policy Counsel to the Center for Reproductive Rights.   Before that, she spent seven years as a foreign service officer assigned to the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor – the office headed by now-Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill) when he was Assistant U.S. Secretary of State from 2014 to 2017.

A graduate of Yale and University of California, Berkeley Law School, Schmid was a law clerk to Judge Ronald Gould of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and U.S. District Court Judge George Daniels of the Southern District of New York.  She was a civil and white collar litigation lawyer before joining the State Department.

Schmid faces lobbyist Tiffany Kaszuba and retired journalist David Applefield in the Democratic primary.   Former Asbury Park Councilman Jim Keady, who ran in the 2018 primary, is also considering another run.

With 21,635 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.

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.

Democrats thought they had a shot at beating Smith last year when Democrat Josh Welle raised $1.8 million, the often underestimated GOP congressman raised $1.5 million and won by 12 percentage points.

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