Democratic Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula (D-Franklin Twp.) has been quietly raising money for a potential run for congress. Since the beginning of the year, Chivukula has raised more than $20,000 including more than $10,000 in a fundraiser on March 17.
The assemblyman currently has more than $43,000 on hand, slim by congressional standards, but more than Anna Little, who is challenging 6th District Democratic incumbent Frank Pallone this year, has raised to date.
Sources say Chivukula is hoping the upcoming redistricting lands him in a district like a revamped 7th where he could challenge a Republican incumbent. He could also run for the 6th District seat in the event that Sen. Frank Lautenberg decides not to run for relection and Pallone makes a bid for the senate.
“A lot changed after 2002 when his own Congressman, Frank Pallone, passed on a Senate run in the Torricelli switcheroo, partially because of finances,” said Patrick Murray director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “The lesson learned was be prepared. And with Pallone building his coffers, I think Chivukula thought it a good idea as well. Chivukula’s been raising money for five years now for a Congressional run, nearly all of it from the Indian community. If (through redistricting) he ends up in either an open or Republican district that includes all of Edison and Franklin, he could be well-placed. It never hurts to plan ahead.”
Sources say the federal account has not sat well with Pallone’s people.