In Tilt with Welle, Keady Tries to Turn Fundraising Deficit into CD4 Advantage

Inveterate grassroots animal CD4 Democrat Jim Keady tonight showed evidence of a zest to continue to scrap for the nomination here, even though Mercer, Ocean and Monmouth all opted for the more financially robust candidate in the convention season.

At a Moms Demand Action forum, Keady flashed a grin when reminding his audience of the following:  “I’ve raised more money in the district than the gentleman I’m running against and a 38-year congressman combined.”


Keady wants the seat occupied by U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-4), but so does retired Navy officer Josh Welle, who has $150,000 cash on hand to Keady’s $39K, according to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Hoping to tap that reservoir of progressive feeling in an anti-Trump year and expose Welle as a poor standard-bearer for that most impassioned portion of the party electorate, Keady said his cash haul doesn’t include the checks of corporate donors.

Running a moderate, let’s-focus-on-the-general-election effort, Welle has the three relevant lines in the 4th District, which adds up to a primary edge. But Keady shows no signs of giving in as run competes with his rival all the way through the June Primary.

Welle refused to get tangled up with his tormentor at the forum, gently riding his wave of organizational advantage as he pledged to make public safety a priority.

Running as the so-called “Inclusion candidate,” Dr. Felicia Stoler also participated in tonight’s forum.


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  • JerseyCurmudgeon

    I was in the room, and, full disclosure, think Jim is best equipped to take on the false credentials of “principled moderation” that Chris Smith has foisted on CD-4 since 1980. That said, I was ready, willing, and EAGER to hear Josh Welle make a good case for why HE would be the stronger candidate.

    I was extremely disappointed. On the issue of gun violence, Jim was all-in for universal background checks. Having spent 50 years in Information Technology, including almost 30 in IT Governance and Security, and with a lot of familiarity with government systems, I know that it would be both daunting AND doable. And with both budget and commitment, it could be done within a few years.

    Josh simply dismissed it, instead opting for banning assault weapons as the most important strategy. Great for NEW sales and for transfers of existing weapons. But he didn’t recognize how tough it would be to even begin to deal with the millions of assault weapons already in the hands of people who will fight to the death to keep them. OR how important it is to identify beforehand anyone who has no business being able to possess anything more dangerous than a squirt gun.

    We need a comprehensive, and multi-dimensional approach that starts with Universal Background Checks. We need to combine UBCs with Extreme Risk Protection Orders, and a ban on new sales and transfers of existing assault weapons. Jim understood that it all starts with Universal Background Checks. Maybe Josh will come around to that understanding. If he becomes the nominee, I certainly hope so.

  • Andrew Karlin

    Money is one thing, and enthusiasm is another. Jim Keady has a horde of committed, active campaigers, while Josh Welle has party functionaries and a bank account. No one is excited about centrist policy positions and business-as-usual candidates in this wave election year. That top-down strategy has been proven to lose to Chris Smith every time. Only a groundswell of “inveterate grassroots animals” can unseat the 18-term incumbent.

  • Phil Blackwood

    Jim Keady is ready to serve in Congress, while Josh Welle continues to make ridiculous gaffes and seems to be having trouble even remembering his lines in public appearances. Don’t take my word for it, watch the unedited debates at

    • Liz DeBeer

      There is no doubt what Jim believes in because he has been fighting for progressive values his whole life – social justice, medicare for all, campaign finance reform and other progressive values. Whether you consider Keady’s famous battle of the words with Chris Christie which resulted in the former governor releasing funds for victims of Hurricane Sandy or workers demanding back pay from Nike – Keady’s words match his actions.
      Welle’s answers change depending on the audience.
      I ggaree, the debates tell the story:

  • Scott Halpern

    Jim Keady is probably the most inspirational and energizing person I’ve met in my life. He’s a lifelong activist who is boldly and unapologetically committed to change. That’s what we need right now in Congress during this frightening time in our nation’s history. I am a local organizer and activist in my hometown. Most people in the group I organized support Jim over Josh. Jim has a greater command over the issues and potential solutions. To readers of this article: watch the debate and decide for yourself.

    Jim has an absolute army of volunteers on the ground helping him out. All signs point to him clinching this nomination.

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