Star-Ledger: MacArthur puts $2 million into campaign, raises almost nothing from others
By Matt Friedman, originally published in The Star-Ledger
TRENTON — Fundraising reports from the two Republican candidates in a South Jersey congressional district paint a drastically different picture of their political operations.
Tom MacArthur, who until recently was the mayor of Randolph Township in Morris County, is taking self-financing to the extreme. He loaned $2 million of his own cash to his campaign as of March 31, according to newly released reports.
And that was almost all he raised. MacArthur, a former insurance executive, reported just one campaign donation: $1,000 from Roman B Hirniak, a former colleague on the Randolph Township Council.
MacArthur’s main rival, Steve Lonegan, loaned his own campaign $100,000 and donated $5,000. But Lonegan, the former mayor of Bogota in Bergen County, raised nearly $296,668 from donors – two third of which came from donors who gave less than $200.
MacArthur has $1.75 million on hand to Lonegan’s $172,054.
Although both men hail from North Jersey, they both recently moved to the district, which includes parts of Ocean and Burlington Counties. Candidates are not required to live in their congressional districts.
MacArthur Campaign Manager Chris Russell said that the candidate will not entirely be self-funded and is in the process of setting up fundraising events. MacArthur decided not to raise money while focusing on winning the Ocean and Burlington County Republican conventions, Russell said.
“We’re looking forward to that and adding to our war chest,” Russell said. ‘The first quarter, we just didn’t try because it wasn’t a priority. The priority was winning the conventions. That’s what we set out to do and that’s what we did.”
Lonegan, who was the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate last year, said he knew he wouldn’t have nearly as much money as MacArthur, but that he will win because he’s the “true, solid conservative in the race with a known background with taxpayers and the voters in that district.”
“I’m not going to buy a congressional seat,” Lonegan said. “I could put a lot more money in the race. I’m not going to because you don’t buy your seat. You earn it.”
Political forecasters predict a competitive general election in the district.
Aimee Belgard, the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in the district, raised $227,468 in the first three months of 2014, bringing her total raised since beginning her campaign last year to $403,411. She has $325,725 in the bank.
Steve Lonegan is depending on grassroots support from people like you to push him over the top against Establishment candidate Tom MacArthur in the June 3rd Republican Primary. Please contribute today!