Ocean Co. Freeholder John Kelly (R) "attacked" Lockheed Martin VP/Medford Mayor Chris Myers (R) 4/14 for donating $500 last year to Sen. Frank Lautenberg's (D) re-election campaign. Kelly: "At a time when rank-and-file Republicans are working diligently to defeat Lautenberg...it was disheartening to learn that Chris Myers ...decided to work against the Republican Party by personally contributing to his campaign."
Myers spokesperson Chris Russell said Myers has donated $17.5K to pols over the years and the $500 for Lautenberg was the first time he's given money to a Dem. Russell said the donation was made because of Lautenberg's "history of support" for Israel. Russell, on Kelly: "This is a guy who voted to raise taxes 16 straight years and voted to increase his own pay six times. For him to question Chris Myers' conservative credentials is kind of laughable."
Kelly spokesperson Frank Luna said that Israel explanation was "disingenuous," and said the "more likely" explanation for the donation was Myers' defense work at Lockheed Martin and gov't contracts (Moore, Asbury Park Press, 4/14).
Not So Fast
When Myers "stepped into" the race to replace Rep. Jim Saxton (R), "most insiders picked" him as the GOP fave. But fundraising totals "suggest a race much closer" than expected. Myers raised $334K in the 1stQ and has $288K CoH. Kelly, meanwhile, raised $306K and has $281K CoH.
Kelly "insists" he's at a distinct advantage because he's represented "roughly half" of the CD as Ocean Co. Freeholder since the early '90s. But Russell, Myers spokesperson, sees that 16 years "as a detriment" to Kelly. Russell: "I would argue it's also one of his biggest weaknesses when you look at his votes to increase taxes there and his votes to increase his salary there" (Friedman, PolitickerNJ.com, 4/14).
This article appears in the April 15, 2008, edition of House Race Hotline.