Amazing Race for a Soon to Be Non-Existent 7th District

The 2012 cycle finance numbers are finally out for the second quarter of 2011, and I kniow you all have been waiting with bated breath for the news.

There’s only one race in New Jersey as of right now, and it’s a two-fer.  But before we get to that, let’s look at the rest of the state.

Every incumbent is raising money, though some slower than others. Chris Smith (R-4) and Albio Sires (D-13) each raised less than $100K this quarter, but neither is really in trouble.  There’s little talk that either of them could be districted out next year.  

Scott Garrett (R-5) is the winner, pulling in a whopping $703,681for the quarter first half of the year, outpacing the number two William Pascrell at $489,056 and Frank Lobiondo at $486,271.  Updated: I give you the first half numbers because the FEC pages are not being helpful in parsing things out by quarter yet.end update

Those are the highs and lows, but the real interesting one right now is the 7th.  Most folks out there suspect that the 7th will be the one to disappear.  It’s the weirdest looking district, an easy win for the Republicans most of the time but recently got more Democrats registered than Republicans.  It borders on Democratic districts (6, 10, 12 and 13) and Republican districts (5 and 11) into which it could be subsumed.

The 7th has also never made any sense at all, with the urban and hyper-Democratic east combined with the more rural and hyper-Republican west. more…

Plus, the incumbent Leonard Lance (R-7) hasn’t made a real mark of his own, essentially turning from the moderate independent State Senator into another foot soldier in the Republican House caucus.  

The Republicans aren’t likely to want to protect Lance, and the territories could be used to either enhance incumbent protection as was done in the 2000 redistricting, or to make some districts more competitive.  

But even knowing all that, Lance has two serious competitors in 2010 opponent Ed Potasnak and former Edison Mayor Jun Choi.  Each has filed early, and is raising money.  There’s also Nizam Kamal, a throwaway candidate who lives out of district and raised nothing.

PolitickerNJ had reported that Lance only raised $134K, but the FEC reports $211,425 for the half year, with a whopping $102K coming from PACs.  At some point folks need to go through the whole report to see what PACs are donating and meshing them with votes.  Taking debts into account, Lance has $214K on hand.

Choi is the big winner of the trio. He announced last week that he’d raised $180K, and the FEC report notes that he did with only $3,500 coming from PACs.  Since he only started two months before the reporting date, he has spent very little and has $157K cash on hand.

Potasnak had a fundraiser with Representative Barney Frank in June and was the 2010 candidate for the Democrats, so his $90K in receipts is pretty low.   Normally it would be an amazing haul for a challenger, but given Choi’s entrance into the primary race it’s got to be a little demoralizing.  Potosnak has only $77K on hand, half of Choi’s number and just more than a third of Lance’s.

If Choi can keep up these numbers and be at a half million dollars or so come September, then Potaskak will have some serious thinking about staying in the race.  Early money dries up fast when someone else has more, and the party will move to whomever has more.  He has a hard summer coming up, and if you back him you should send him some money post haste.

It’s a pretty amazing, early race considering the district might not exist in eight months and all this wrangling could go for naught.  It’s possible Choi is setting himself up for Pallone’s seat in the 6th for 2014 when Frank Lautenberg’s seat goes up for grabs.  Pallone was offered the seat in 2002 when Bob Torricelli dropped out in a cloud of suspicion, and that declination has hurt him for years.

All in all, not much public is going to happen for another three months as Choi and Potosnak work to raise cash and Lance enjoys the largesse of PACs and incumbency.  

(If you are so inclined send money love to Ed Potasnak or Jun Choi.)

Comments (5)

  1. Jay Lassiter

    I tried to send Choi a link to this diary via FaceBook but he’s de-friended me.  So i made a contribution to his rival, Ed Posasnak, instead.

  2. tunghoy

    I thought the commission was supposed to meet in June for the new Congressional maps.


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