Shulman raises nearly $200,000

For a candidate in a congressional race that most political observers consider a long shot, Dennis Shulman, who hopes to

For a candidate in a congressional race that most political observers consider a long shot, Dennis Shulman, who hopes to be the Democrats’ chosen candidate to against Republican U.S. Rep. E. Scott Garrett, has raised a significant amount of money.

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Although the blind rabbi/psychologist's campaign won’t release fundraising totals until Monday, sources say that Shulman raised approximately $140,000 last quarter, bringing his amount raised so far up to about $190,000. It’s unclear how much of that will be cash on hand.

Shulman would not confirm or deny raising the sum.

"I have been overwhelmed and humbled by the enthusiasm for change here in New Jersey," he said in a statement. "Our campaign is still fresh, but we are committed to bringing this district the kind of sensible leadership that the people are thirsting for."

To take on Garrett, Shulman will first have go get by Camille Abate, who ran an unsuccessful primary campaign against Paul Stuart Aronsohn, Gov. James E. McGreevey’s former press secretary, in 2006. Abate couldn’t be reached for comment, but her Washington, DC-based campaign consultant Doug Jaraczewski would not say how much she raised last quarter.

“Our fundraising is on pace,” he said. “Camille is calling Democratic New Jersey donors on a regular basis, and we’re receiving more union fundraising as well.”

As of last quarter, Abate had raised $72,266 and had $36,000 cash on hand. In her primary against Aronsohn two years ago, Abate only spent $33,000 and got 34% of the vote.

Meanwhile, Garrett’s last available fundraising numbers put him near the bottom of the pack of the New Jersey congressional delegation, with about $332,000 cash on hand. But while he doesn’t keep lot of money in the bank, Garrett runs scared – last time, he spent $1 million to beat Aronsohn in a race that he was easily favored to win. .

Democrats like to note that his share of the vote in all three of his elections has dropped from 60% in 2002, to 58% in 2004 to 55% in 2006.

But Conservative strategist and Garrett fan Rick Shaftan said that Democrats have an easy time raising money when they’re running against New Jersey’s most right wing congressman. The problem for Democrats, he said, is that the money doesn’t really translate into votes in this still solidly Republican district.

“Scott Garrett has a voting record that the left hates, but there aren’t enough votes to make a difference there,” he said. “The thing is that Scott Garrett will never get 60% of the vote but he’ll always get 51%.”

Shulman raises nearly $200,000