A new super PAC has amassed a huge war chest to spend on behalf of New Jersey Republican congressional candidate Bob Healey Jr., and most of the money comes from his mother.
Garden State Advance, which formed in mid-March, received a $2 million donation from Ellen Healey of Wellington, Fla., according to filings with the Federal Election Commission. The only other contribution — $25,000 — came from Jonathan Lumbert of Naples, Fla., who runs a Philadelphia-based boutique investment advisory firm.
Healey Jr. last week won the Republican primary in New Jersey's 3rd District and will take on two-term Democratic incumbent Andy Kim in November.
Healey Jr.’s father, Robert T. Healey, who died in December, was the longtime leader of Viking Yacht Company, which he co-founded with his brother and which Healy Jr. now co-chairs.
Reached by phone Tuesday, Ellen Healey declined to comment.
Although Garden State Advance has yet to come to the attention of the media, it spent about $45,000 in the final days leading up to the June 7 primary on mailers and text messages to help Healey Jr.’s campaign.
Super PACs are allowed to raise and spend unlimited sums to help or hurt candidates so long as they don’t coordinate with campaigns.
Peter Sheridan, a New Jersey Republican operative who’s listed as Garden State Advance's agent, did not respond to emailed questions about its operations.
In last week's primary, Healey Jr. defeated Ian Smith, a former gym owner who became a minor celebrity on the right for refusing to abide by state Covid restrictions, and realtor Nicholas Ferrara, with about 53 percent of the vote. His campaign against Kim is expected to be much tougher.
The 3rd District used to be heavily Republican. But Kim capitalized on suburban backlash to former President Donald Trump to unseat Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur 2018. He followed that up with a relatively easy reelection in 2020 against Republican David Richter who, like Healey Jr., is the son of a prominent local businessman.
Late last year, Democrats prevailed in redistricting and redrew the 3rd District to make it friendlier to Democrats and move some of its most conservative areas to other districts. But the hostile national political environment to Democrats means Kim isn’t necessarily safe — especially against a well-funded challenge. The district now includes Burlington, Monmouth and Mercer counties.
Kim is a prolific fundraiser who faced nominal opposition in the Democratic primary. He had almost $4 million in the bank as of mid-May compared to $437,000 for Healey Jr.
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