Democratic House candidate Josh Welle has joined his colleagues from other districts in managing to outraise his Republican opponent, but the accomplishment means a little more for Welle, whose opponent’s seat is considered the safest Republican seat in the state.
Welle raised $350,436.56 in the second quarter, topping incumbent Rep. Chris Smith’s $249,940.74 raised by roughly 40%.
Forecasters like the Cook Political Report and the University of Virginia’s Sabato Crystal Ball rate the district as solidly Republican. The fourth district is the only Republican-held one in New Jersey to receive such a rating.
Out-fundraising the incumbent there bodes well for Welle, but it’s not clear that such a bump will be enough to unseat Smith, who’s represented the district in Congress for 37 years.
And while Welle managed to outraise Smith, he also outspent him.
At $96,668.12, Smith spent a little more than half of what Welle did in the quarter. Welle spent $173,361.43, with the bulk of the spending coming in before June’s primaries.
So, the victory is more symbolic than anything else, and given that Smith’s war chest is more than twice the size of Welle’s, it’s likely somewhat hollow for the congressional hopeful.
The congressman has $754,004.80 banked, while his challenger has a comparatively meager $326,906.89.