INSIDERNJ’s 2020 Congressional Sketch Pad: A Thumbnail Guide to All Developing Contests

Congressmen Bill Pascrell Jr. and Josh Gottheimer meet with Fort Lee Mayor Mayor Mark Sokolich of Bridgegate fame and reporters to publicly discuss their opposition to a new fee New York will charge drivers for driving into Manhattan's congestion zone.
Former EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg discusses his ideas about how the continuing scandals surrounding President Donald Trump and his exit from office will ultimately benefit NJ Democrats Gov. Phil Murphy, George Norcross III and 2020 Presidential candidate Cory Booker.
Donald Norcross


U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross (D-1) is running for a fourth term. He already has a Republican challenger: Joshua Duvall. The congressman has $1.3M cash on hand to Duvall’s $5.5K, according to the Federal Election Commission. Against the backdrop of Norcross’s brother George fighting Governor Phil Murphy, politics watchers see the potential for a Democratic Primary challenge in CD1. Some progressives see Working Families chief Sue Altman of Camden as a strong primary challenger but nothing’s official.

Van Drew


First elected last year, U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-2) ($546K cash on hand) wants a second term in 2020. Looking to take back the district they lost with the 2018 retirement of U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-2), the Republicans are already lining up to face him. They include Brian Fitzherbert, Robert Patterson, and David Richter. Movement conservative Seth Grossman (who lost 46-52% to Van Drew in 2018) could also get in the developing contest.



Having (just barely) knocked off U.S. Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-3), U.S. Rep. Andy Kim (D-3) wants a second term in the Ocean-Burlington district. Insiders are closely watching this year’s LD8 contest. Republicans in particular are gauging the battleground strength of incumbent Assemblyman Ryan Peters (R-8), who could emerge as a GOP challenger to Kim. Kate Gibbs – who lost countywide but has solid labor support – is another GOP option. In this environment, there’s a wing of the party insistent on a woman to take on Kim. Former state senator Diane Allen (R-8)? Probably not. In the twilight. Still, the Ocean County has yet to weigh in.



It must be a lonely feeling, to be the only member of a party – in this case Republican – in the congressional delegation during the Trump era. That’s veteran pro-lifer U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-4), who last year defeated Navy vet Josh Welle after Welle beat progressive Jim Keady in a competitive Democratic Primary. as of right now, four Democrats have lined up ahead of 2020: David Applefield ($56K COH), Tiffany Kaszuba, Stephanie Schmid (who plans a Sept. 7th formal campaign launch) and Christine Conforti. The always politically activated Keady is said to be weighing another run.



Pre-President Donald Trump, this was the most obvious general election congressional battleground in the state. U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-5) is navigating a primary and a general. In the former, he will face Arati Kreibich, a freshman Glen Rock councilwoman and neuroscientist. At least two Republicans – Frank Pallotta and Mike Ghassali – are vying to take on the incumbent Democrat in 2020, and 2018 loser John McCann still has $59K in the bank. But fundraising specialist Gottheimer sits atop a daunting pile of money: $5.7M, according to the FEC.



With $2.5M cash on hand, veteran U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6) faces two primary challengers from the AOC wing of the Democratic Party: Russell Cirincione ($0 COH) and John Hsu ($4k COH), according to the FEC.



In pursuit of a second term, U.S. Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-7) has $1M and change on hand, according to the FEC. The district will stage at least a GOP Primary showdown as party scion state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R-21) ($421K COH) must first vie with Rosemary Becchi and (according to the FEC) Tom Phillips (3K COH). as with all the battleground districts, establishment Democrats in the vicinity of the 7th crave low drama at the top of the ticket.

Tom DeGise-backer Sires.


U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8), $182K cash on hand, does not appear at this time to have a challenger, either in the primary or general.



U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9) ($1.5M COH) wanted Joe Crowley of Queens to be speaker and when Crowley lost, the Paterson congressman jumped feet first into the circle of the Green New Deal rival of his old former colleague’s political circle, famously asking U.S. Rep. Alexandra Ocasio Cortez (D-NY) if he could join her squad. That didn’t deter Zinovia Spezakis ($26K COH) from jumping into the 2020 contest as a Democratic challenger in the Paterson-dominant district. Englewood Mayor Michael Wildes has a campaign account open too and $791K in the bank, according to the FEC.

Congressman Payne


U.S. Rep. Donald Payne (D-10) has $92K COH, according to FEC. Two Democrats – John Flora ($5K) and Eugene Mazo – have campaign accounts open, and so does Republican Ana Rivera, but a high energy contest in New Jersey’s most Democratic Party-dominant county does not appear visible at this time.



In possession of $1,149,000 cash on hand, political star U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-11) – pursuing a second term in 2020 – has not at this time allowed a GOP challenger to gain any oxygen. Republican Reinier Prijten has an account open with $297 stacked.

Watson Coleman


Having won the seat in 2014, U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12) has $161K cash on hand in pursuit of a fourth term. Last week, Councilman Mark Razzoli announced that he would be switching his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican to challenge the incumbent congresswoman.

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