Running for Congress in CD4, Democrat Stephanie Schmid had her best fundraising quarter ever, as she expects to be able to report a cash haul of $200K for Q2, or double what they mustered in Q1.
“It’s indicative of a surge for us on the ground; we feel confident,” said Schmid, who noted that incumbent U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-4) had raised just $106,000 as of June 17th. “We’re in the final stage of the endorsement process, and this is going to continue to propel our momentum. It’s a good indication of the strength of this campaign that we will be coming out of the primary with almost 200K COH.”
Schmid has the party lines in all the counties where she hopes to stare down her two opponents on Tuesday, and then gear up for the general election.
“My family is all okay,” she told InsiderNJ Sunday. “So many people have been touched and lost people. I have not been out in public as much these last three months in part because my mom is living with me and helping with the campaign. She was hospitalized last year with drug resistant pneumonia, so we’re being careful. …Everyone has been working from home; we make all decisions with everyone’s health ou first consideration.”
Now 120 days ahead of the general election, she concedes that COVID-19 made 2020 a different contest than the one she envisioned.
But one thing that hasn’t changed is opponent Smith, she said.
“Aside from a photo op at the end of May, I haven’t seen him aound, and this crisis has shown again that he doesn’t live in the district,” said the Democrat, a former foreign service official who retired 18 months into the era of President Donald J. Trump to lead the U.S. Foreign Policy program at the Center for Reproductive Rights.
Smith is also still quiet on Trump, incidentally, the candidate noted.
“He didn’t speak out when Trump made his disgraceful march across Lafayette Park,” said Schmid. “This district has high unemployment numbers and Smith isn’t here. He’s not doing this work. How lacking we are at the national level, compared to the sixth district, for example, where Frank Pallone is doing critical work. Smith voted against expanding the Affordable Care Act. It’s never been clearer we lack leadership. This was a time to step up. If ever there was a moment for him to step forward and lead, he was uniquely positioned now – and he’s been completely silent.”
While panning Trump, Schmid praised Governor Phil Murphy’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.
“Public health is not a partisan issue,” she said. “I am so grateful to live in a state that took this viris serious from the beginning. The data shows that shutting down was the right decision. I appreciate the governor’s leadership. Nobody has ever dealt with something like this before, and my heart aches for small businesses at the shore and I am trying to promote those businesses by shopping local. We need to do our part, even as Chris Smith’s absence is so noticable, he’s not even going out and having dinner. He doesn’t understand the suffering.”
It’s been a long season, she admits. They started with six Democratic Primary candidates and now they’re down to three. They had seven candidates’ debates and forums until March and then transitioned to Facebook live forums.
“I am confident that I represent the future and he [Chris Smith] represents the past,” said Schmid. “He’s been a congressman for 40 years.”
The Democratic candidate said she’s thrilled to be on the ballot with former Vice President Joe Biden, who’s running for president on the Democratic ticket. “He’s such a personable and compassionate individual and representative of the kind of leadership that’s been so lacking in the country. I’m also thrilled he has committed to a woman on the ballot. It’s really important that his vice president be ready to lead on day one; someone who complements him and his strengths.”
She personally favors U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, U.S. Rep. Val Demmings, and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth.
Reflecting on damage done to the country since Trump took office, Schmid said, “When I joined the Foreign Service in 2011, I took an oath, and that oath means more to me today than ever. One of the reasons I’m running for congress is the foundation of our Democratic fabric has been stretched and torn. We are a nation on the brink . We didn’t heed the warning signs. I hope we survive the next four months. There’s no way we could survive the next four years. Our national security is on the line. While we’re in this turmoil our enemies are taking advantage of the vacuum. It is a threat to our own national security and globally Joe Biden is going to have to rebuild relationships decimated by this administration.”
As for the country’s response to the virus, Schmid said American foreign service workers in China sounded the alarm early, expressing worry about the jump from animal to human transmission. Senior leadership failed the country, said Schmid. The fact that we lacked a national stockpile of PPE was catastrophically of that failure, she said.
She blames the Trump Administration.
“Many of the people in his administraiton were put their for the purpose of dismanting those agencies,” she said. On the other side of the coming general election, “We will need to right-size all of these things to reestablish trust in our government.”