Democrats are mounting virtually no campaign against Rep. Christopher Smith (R-Manchester), who is seeking his 22nd term in the U.S. House of Representatives in the strongly Republican 4th district.
Their candidate, Matt Jenkins, has emerged as a weak fundraiser. He brought in just $26,269 in July, August and September, and only $37,219 since entering the race earlier this year. Jenkins has a meager $5,486 in the bank and the high point of his campaign was a brief tussle with Wawa over the use of the goose portion of a former logo.
More than one-quarter of Jenkins’ campaign budget has went to an Iowa-based political consulting firm, Title Fight, which has been paid $9,800 to place $7,000 work of digital ads.
Smith has a 64-1 fundraising edge as he seeks to extend his record as the longest serving congressman in New Jersey history. He posted third quarter fundraising numbers of $141,124 and has raised $1,341,039 so far this cycle. He has $350,366 cash-on-hand.
Jenkins’ lethargic fundraising is the worst by any 4th district Democrats since 2014, when Ruben Scolavino brought in a paltry $5,724. Smith won that race 37 percentage points.
Earlier this month, Jenkins lost the endorsement of Garden State Equality, the state’s largest LGBTQ+ advocacy group. Instead, the endorsement went to Pam Daniels, a former aide to Gov. Christine Todd Whitman who is running as an independent and seeking to become the first transgender member of the Congress.
Smith has continued to operate on all cylinders since winning the Republican primary by 21 points in June. He’s scored endorsements from the New Jersey AFL-CIO and the State Building & Construction Trades Council, along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business.
He’s also won endorsements from the New Jersey’s Police Benevolent Association, Fraternal Order of Police, and Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association.
“Chris Smith is a fighter who has demonstrated an unyielding commitment to public safety, the rule of law and the brave police officers who protect our fellow citizens,” said NJ PBA President Pat Colligan. “We are grateful for his leadership and we know we can count on Chris to continue to work hard to ensure that law enforcement has the support, training and equipment needed to keep our communities safe.”
NJ FOP President Robert Fox praised Smith for his “unyielding advocacy.”
“While our officers are faced with an increasingly difficult job in recent years, Chris has always stood with law enforcement, and we look forward to continuing to work with him in the next Congress,” said Fox.
Smith was first elected to Congress in 1980, at age 27, when he unseated a 26-year incumbent. When he began his 41st year in the House on January 3, 2021, he broke the record held jointly by Smith and Rep. Peter W. Rodino, Jr. (D-Newark). Rodino rose to national prominence during the Watergate scandal as he chaired House Judiciary Committee over impeachment proceedings against President Richard Nixon, served in Congress from 1949 until his retirement in 1989.
Against well-funded challengers in 2018 and 2020, Smith won 55% and 60%, respectively. The 4th district became more Republican during the latest round of congressional redistricting.