Amy Vasquez said today that she will not seek the Democratic nomination for a rematch against Republican U.S. Rep. Chris Smith in the fourth congressional district.
Instead, Vasquez, who ran against Smith in 2004 and announced her intent to challenge him again in August, will throw her support behind 34-year-old history professor and author Josh Zeitz, who declared his candidacy in October.
Vasquez said that “the time is right” for defeating the fourteen term Smith, who has consistently won reelection by large margins, with no Democrat breaking 35 percent during his last 10 elections. Vasquez said that she needs to focus on “events in my personal and professional life” instead of running for congress.
Although the district voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, Vasquez said that Smith has lost touch with his constituents, and has become “a product of Washington.”
“Smith has distanced himself both literally and figuratively from the people he is charged with representing. He dismisses any criticism that he does not live in the district as irrelevant,” said Vasquez in a statement ‘He now dismisses the issue of the Iraq War as insignificant to his constituents, just as he has dismissed the struggle to protect women’s privacy rights as unimportant in election after election.”
As of October, Zeitz had raised $43,000, and had planned to raise $100,000 before the end of the year. Reached today, Zeitz said that his campaign would release last quarter’s fundraising numbers on Thursday.
“We’re happy," he said. "This is going to be the most serious challenge he’s had in well over two decades,” he said.