TOMS RIVER, NJ – Rikin Mehta, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Cory “Spartacus” Booker is still broke according to the Federal Elections Commission. Mehta filed his quarterly report with the federal financial oversight agency this week and the report shows he is still in debt, albeit, mostly to himself.
According to Mehta’s October quarterly filing with the FEC, the former Democrat, now running as a Republican raised just $155,000 for his campaign. The lack of fundraising could be why this year’s U.S. Senate election is much different than the Menendez vs. Hugin slugfest of 2018. In that election Republican candidate, Bob Hugin had a $40,000,000 war chest. That’s roughly $39,600,000 more than Rikin has raised, including a $315,000 personal loan he made his campaign.
It’s starting to look like Mehta will lose out on that investment as funding just isn’t there. With no budget for mailers, commercials, or display advertising, Mehta relied mostly on his Facebook following of a few thousand fans and his connection with the popular Atilis Gym to get out the vote. Some longtime GOP donors have told Shore News Network that they would have considered donating to Mehta’s campaign, but they had concerns over how the money would be spent…if it all, versus being used to help the candidate pay himself back on his personal loan.
Mehta ended the quarter with just $62,000 cash on hand, with a debt-laden campaign.
Booker on the other hand raised $2.6 million during the quarter and $5.2 million in the bank, which probably will not have to be wasted on a costly Senate election. Booker can reallocate those funds to defeat local Republicans statewide in the future if he chooses.
While Mehta’s lackluster campaign is an obvious failure, his weakness as a candidate and inability to raise campaign funding could have long-term negative effects on New Jersey Republicans statewide in the future as Booker and the Democrats are now sitting on a $5.2 million campaign war chest.
This week, Mehta blamed Governor Phil Murphy for his own inability to raise campaign funds. Mehta has signaled that he intends to sue the governor for calling him “unfit for office”, demanding the state immediately reimburses his campaign for damages.
Rik Mehta received the support of the Ocean County GOP establishment elders during his primary battle against Conservative Hirsh Singh. He obtained the screening committee vote, supported by OC GOP Chairman Frank “Frankie” Holman and Virginia “Ginny” Haines, but lost a floor vote at the county convention. In a contested election where all votes were never counted, Mehta was declared the winner, but found himself in a difficult position as the one guy in America who made out because of a flawed mail-in ballot election process.