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N.J.’s hottest congressional races draws big bucks from some big names. See who gave to Kennedy, Van Drew.


New Jersey’s hottest congressional race has attracted so much attention that Democrat Amy Kennedy was able to do in nine months what it took Republican incumbent Jeff Van Drew to do in 18: Raise more than $3 million for a congressional campaign.

Thanks to a $2.3 million haul in the last three months, Kennedy, who entered the race in January, reported raising $3.3 million. That’s almost as much as the $3.7 million Van Drew, who switched to the Republican Party after opposing President Donald Trump’s impeachment, brought in with a 12-month head start. Kennedy earlier lent her campaign $500,000 for the primary.

Still, the July 7 Democratic primary and then spending for the general election campaign both drained her bank account, leaving her with $300,917 cash on hand as of Sept. 30 compared with Van Drew’s $1.3 million.

The race has brought in bucks from New Jersey and beyond.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., set up a joint fundraising committee with Kennedy and raised $11,900. Veteran movie studio chief Jeffrey Katzenberg and his wife Marilyn contributed $2,800 apiece. Van Drew’s former fellow Democratic caucus members gave more than $40,000 to Kennedy. One of Kennedy’s vanquished primary rivals, Montclair State University political science professor Brigid Callahan Harrison, gave $1,000.

The wife of former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., she also received support from members of the iconic Democratic family, including his brother, Edward Kennedy Jr., and Vicki Kennedy, widow of his father, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.

For Van Drew, a committee raising money for him, President Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee pumped almost $50,000 into his re-election campaign. House GOP lawmakers gave him more than $15,000 just in the last three months.

Former Gov. Chris Christie and his wife Mary Pat each contributed $2,800.

The House Democrats’ super political action committee, House Majority PAC, spent $3.3 million to help Kennedy, while the National Republican Congressional Committee and the House GOP’s super PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund, spent about $1.5 million on Van Drew’s behalf, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

In the 7th District, rookie Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski raised $6 million through Sept. 30 and entered the final stretch of the campaign with $1.6 million to spend. His GOP opponent, state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr., R-Union, brought in $3.4 million and had $976,970 left to spend.

Both parties were spending heavily in the race. The NRCC spent $1.6 million and the Congressional Leadership Fund, $1.7 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent $1.4 million and the House Majority Fund $1.1 million.

National Republicans did not spend any money on behalf of lawyer Rosemary Becchi to close her fundraising gap with Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-11th Dist. Sherill raised $5.9 million and had almost $4 million to spend while Becchi raised $1.1 million, borrowed $226,840 of her own money, and had cash on hand of $288,974.

Nor did they financially assist former investment banker Frank Pallotta in his race against Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-5th Dist. Through Sept. 30, Gottheimer brought in $6.9 million and had $8.6 million to spend. Pallotta raised only $511,292 while lending his campaign $1.4 million and had $695,885 in the bank.

Jonathan D. Salant may be reached at jsalant@njadvancemedia.com.

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