Pascrell Says Republican Challenger Will Outspend Him in Congressional Race
Friday, August 31, 2012 • 7:53am
PATERSON, NJ – Twelve weeks ago, it seemed Bill Pascrell could shift into cruise control on his way to winning his ninth consecutive term in Congress.
The former Paterson mayor had just won a convincing victory over fellow Democratic incumbent Steve Rothman in their political death match in the Democratic primary. He was sitting on a war chest that was about four times bigger than that of his Republican opponent, Shmuley Boteach. And he was running in a newly-drawn district that all the political pundits agreed had been crafted to send a Democrat to Washington. Even Boteach said he was facing an uphill battle.
But the landscape of New Jersey’s 9th District Congressional election changed dramatically with the recent disclosure that Boteach received a $500,000 campaign contribution from billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife.
“We are going to be outspent in this election -- it is only a question of how much they will outspend us by,’’ Pascrell said on Tuesday in email soliciting donations.
Pascrell as underdog? Pascrell as the candidate with less money to spend? That’s not the picture depicted in the July campaign finance reports. Those filings showed Pascrell had spent $2.8 million during this election cycle and had $254,743 in the bank. Boteach, meanwhile, had spent $123,488 and had $57,602 left.
But that was July. Two checks later - $250,000 each from Adelson and his wife – have put the rabbi from Englewood in the lead in terms of fund-raising.
“This one donation almost doubled the amount we have in the bank and we anticipate there will be more donations from the Super PAC,’’ said Pascrell campaign spokesman Keith Furlong, referring to the Patriot Prosperity PAC through which the Adelson’s made their donation to Boteach.
With summer almost ending, the campaign is about to start in earnest. There will be plenty of chicken dinners between now and Election Day and there’s no telling for sure which candidate will end up with a bigger war chest.
The Boteach campaign finds Pascrell’s comments about the Adelson donation perplexing.
“Bill Pascrell spent $2.4 million to win his primary and all of a sudden he's worried about money in politics,’’ said a statement issued by Boteach’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Seley, in response to questions from PatersonPress.com.
“The guy has not been seen in the district and has not even updated his website since the Primary. He's phoning it in and had the temerity to complain that there's actually going to be a campaign this fall,’’ continued the Boteach statement. “That kind of arrogant entitlement, coupled with our bold ideas on jobs and restoring American Values is why voters are taking a fresh look at my campaign.”
It’s not clear whether Pascrell can duplicate the fund-raising efforts that helped him win the primary.
“We’re going to have to collect a lot of $5 and $20 donations from the working class people of North Jersey who support Bill Pascrell,’’ said Furlong. “We’re not expecting one person to give us $500,000. We’re more grassroots. We are confident that we’ll have the resources to campaign and get our message out.’’