David Applefield, who lost his bid for the Democratic nomination for Congress in yesterday’s primary election, died today. He was 64.
According to a report on More Monmouth Musings, Applefield collapsed while exercising. He was pronounced dead at Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank.
Applefield, a journalist and author, had been campaigning for the chance to take on Rep. Christopher Smith (R-Hamilton) in New Jersey’s 4th district. He received about 6% of the vote in a race that was won by Stephanie Schmid.
“My wife Marie and I extend our sincere condolences to the family of David Applefield on his sudden passing,” Smith said. “While not personally acquainted, we recognize that David brought a wealth of ideas, intellect and enthusiasm to the public discourse. May his family be comforted during this time of great sorrow.”
He scaled back his campaign operations in in April as he searched for a better way to campaign during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m committed to proving that although political campaigns need cash, what they really need is soul, along with genuine commitment to helping neighbors and rising above the hollow rhetoric and self-serving small-mindedness that has dominated much of New Jersey local politics — even when it concerns federal races,” he said at the time.
He had put about $180,00 of his own money into his bid for Congress.
Applefield has been the underdog in a three-way race for the Democratic nomination, with Schmid and former United Nations staffer Christine Conforti spending most of the year battling for organization lines.
“Between now and July 7, I’ll be spending lots of ideas, and bonding with generosity. I’m ready to contribute a bit more from my own earnings and savings, but only if necessary,” Applefield told the New Jersey Globe in April. “I intend to create some positive surprises, and success stories for a district that has been greatly deprived of original thinking for a long, long time.”
He is survived by his wife, three children, and his mother, Janet Applefield, a Holocaust survivor who was featured on a late campaign robocall seeking votes for her son, and his father, Jerome.
“As a journalist, David Applefield covered some of the most pressing challenges of our time. As a candidate for Congress, he sought to do something about them,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “I am incredibly saddened to learn of his untimely passing this morning, only one day after the Primary Election — a primary in which he reached back across his years of journalistic experience to propose new ways of looking at old problems. We need more thinkers like David in our politics. I send my deepest condolences to his family at this awful time. May his memory be a blessing to them.”