Rep. Smith Confirms He’ll Seek Re-Election

Rep. Chris Smith (R-4) told the New Jersey Globe this week that he will “enthusiastically” seek re-election to a 21st term in Congress next year. “I’ve never been more enthusiastic about a job in my life,” Smith said.  “I hope to have another decade here. I love it that much.”

 The “dean” of New Jersey’s congressional delegation, Smith is also the delegation’s lone Republican after Democrats captured four additional House seats in last year’s mid-term elections.

Smith pushed back on speculation that he might retire. 

“I have more enthusiasm, not less, than in my early years,” Smith said. He told the Globe that he’s written more laws than 433 other House members, including three that were signed last year.  He expects his Autism bill to become law this year. “I get things done,” he said.

Democrats thought they had a chance to unseat Smith last year when Democrat newcomer Josh Welle raised $1.8 million. Smith ultimately raised $1.5 million and won by 12 percentage points. As of the latest reporting, Smith has $319,122 in his campaign war chest.

On his second attempt, the then 27 year-old Smith was elected to Congress in 1980 defeating thirteen-term incumbent Rep. Frank Thompson, Jr. (D-4) who was on trial for bribery and conspiracy as part of the Abscam sting.  Smith defeated Thompson by 16 percentage points while Ronald Reagan carried the district by only three points.

Now 66, Smith is still younger than five other delegation members, including freshman Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-2).

The 4th is the only House district in New Jersey to become more Republican over the last decade.

Although a number of Democrats are thought to be contemplating a challenge, none have formally announced.