The recent ELEC filings show that Democrats are panicking over District 1, as they are now diverting a significant amount of funds to incumbent Jeff Van Drew to the detriment of JIm Whelan in District 2.
Filings show that the Van Drew ticket on its own only raised $201,000 to the $209,000 raised by the DeWeese ticket, and that Democrat State Committees had to throw a desperate Van Drew $185,000 which literally went out the door the same day towards a hastily thrown together radio & TV campaign.
A little background.
The Van Drew campaign this cycle has made amatuer hour look like a Broadway production. They have no volunteer operation, no one making phone calls or knocking on doors. I’m not kidding. Go to their website and Facebook page. There are no invitations/notices telling anyone where and when they can volunteer. They have no headquarters or place to make calls from. All they have is an address where people can mail checks to. The ticket actually skipped the only major candidates forum in Cumberland County they had agreed to attend WITH NO NOTICE OR EXPLANATION! The only real campaigning they had done were radio ads with Harry Hurley and very expensive TV advertising on ESPN and TBS during the baseball playoffs. And those ads focused heavily on Matt Milam while Van Drew and Nelson Albano were afterthoughts. In the past, the trio always campaigned on Van Drew’s name.
This is in stark contrast to the DeWeese campaign, which has been aggressive and effective. Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr, in a sit down with Save Jersey, specifically praised the campaign (it’s at the end of the video), saying “DeWeese is doing an extraordinary job.” And they have been. Their aggressive style has resulted in a message that has gained traction and press. They have been agressively advertising in papers, purchasing full page color ads for the past few weeks (for those of you who do not know District 1, newspapers are not on the decline here due to the demographics of the district). They launched a strong mailer effort, as well. They have produced several impactful web videos which have gone viral (here, here and here). They have launched an aggressive cable TV ad campaign. And they have put together a top-notch grassroots volunteer effort based out of 3 different locations that has made tens of thousands of phone calls and knocked on thousands of doors. Oh, and Governor Christie just gave them a huge fundraising boost.
So when State Democrats took a break from spending big dollars to help Jim Whelan throw mud to protect one seat and take a look at District 1, they were horrified to discover that they were in real danger of losing three seats!
Now State Democrats found themselves between a rock and a hard place. They have less cash on hand than State Republicans. Polistina has more cash than Whelan. DeWeese has more cash Van Drew. Their resources are so depleted and low for state races that writing a check to one candidate denies another candidate funds. They do not have enough funds for the races they planned on supporting, let alone now having to support Van Drew, too.
So they made a painful, desperate decision. They diverted a much needed $185,000 from Jim Whelan’s campaign, which is also in desperation mode, to Van Drew for a last minute, desperation radio & TV counter offensive. This just started last week, and, just like the campaign so far, has been weak, and the CapeGOP has already effectivly countered it.
The counter offensive centers focuses on calling Dave DeWeese a liar and the Beesley’s Point Bridge. While this issue will be the topic of an upcoming analysis, the high level of it is Van Drew went out and got the Republican Cape May County Freeholder (who is so reviled in Cape May he chose not to run for re-election because he knew he would be lucky to get 5 votes) he conned into buying the bridge to come out and say that the 100% correct DeWeese mailers were 100% wrong. In response, 50 elected Cape May County officials have called out Van Drew on his lying in a full page ad in the Cape May County Herald.
The $185,000 is already spent, and the campaign it bought has already been exposed as BS. They just wasted it all.
Democrats now have to choose between diverting more funds they don’t have from a desperate Jim Whelan to a desperate Jeff Van Drew. They only have $1.5 million left. Another $150K to Van Drew would represent 15% of the kitty. And every dollar they give to Van Drew is a dollar they have to deny to Whelan.
What’s a panicky Democrat to do?