Ex-journalist self-funding bid in NJ-4

Former journalist David Applefield has raised $212,104 in his bid to challenge 20-term Rep. Christopher Smith (R-Hamilton) in New Jersey’s 4th district.

He has $137,141 cash-on-hand.

Applefield reported raising $77,610 in the 4th quarter of 2019, most of it from a $60,000 personal loan he made to his campaign.  That brings his total personal investment to $180,000 – or about 85% of the total amount he has raised.

So far, Applefield has spent $74,963 on his bid for the Democratic nomination.

The early front runner for the chance to take on Smith appears to be Stephanie Schmid, a former U.S. Department of State official who has raised $202,256 and has won the most endorsements from Democratic party officials so far.

The field of candidates has narrowed to three following the withdrawals of former Asbury Park councilman Jim Keady, lobbyist Tiffany Kaszuba, and financial analyst Hassan Shehadeh.

Christine Conforti, a former staffer at the United Nations, remains in the race.

If Smith wins re-election, he will become the longest-serving congressman in New Jersey history.

With 22,099 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.