Freshman Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-Dennis) raised just $120,556 during his first three months as a congressman — substantially less than the other four New Jersey Democrats targeted for defeat next year – leaving him cash-strapped as a self-funder mulls challenging him.
The South Jersey Democrat raised 82% of his total haul from political action committees.
Van Drew has only $80,099 cash-on-hand and a debt of $28,537, according to a Federal Election Commission report he filed tonight. He spent $44,657 since January 1.
His possible Republican opponent, David Richter, the millionaire former CEO of one of the nation’s largest construction companies, announced the formation of an exploratory committee last week.
Three other New Jersey freshmen – Reps. Andy Kim (D-Marlton), Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill) and Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair – have raised more than four times what Van Drew did during the first quarter of 2019. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff), who is expected to seek his third term, raised $830,000 over the last three months.
Republicans think Van Drew, unbeatable during his seventeen years in the New Jersey Legislature, is vulnerable after winning a surprisingly unimpressive 53% against former Atlantic County freeholder Seth Grossman last year.
Richter spent 22 years at Hill International, the construction firm founded by his father in 1976. Hill grew to become the 8th largest construction company in the United States.
If he runs, Richter would be positioned to spend millions on his campaign.
“Having to own the socialist policies House Democrats have embraced is bad enough, but Jeff Van Drew’s reelection efforts got that much harder after his abysmal fundraising total,” said Michael McAdams, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. “He should quit now and save himself the embarrassment.”
This story was updated at 10:35 AM on April 16 to include comment from the NRCC.Jeff Van Drew FEC Q1 2019