FEC: Bhalla leads the way in 8th District fundraising for Congress with $915k COH


Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla leads the way in fundraising for the 8th District congressional race, with $914,954.93 cash on hand, compared to $692,549.59 for U.S. Rep. Rob Menendez, 4th quarter reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) show.

Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla (left) and U.S. Rep. Rob Menendez (D-8). Facebook photo.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Bhalla, who raised $974,484.56 by the end of 2023, received hundreds of donations from fellow members of the Sikh community across the country, from states such as Connecticut, Illinois, California, Ohio, New York, and New Jersey.

These individual donors mostly gave small donations between $250 and $1,500, and while he received several larger contributions, none of them came from political action committees or lobbyists, which he highlighted today.

“While my opponent continues to rely on special interest PACs and lobbyists to fund his campaign, I raised nearly $1 million from individuals,” Bhalla said in a statement.

“As our Congressman, I’ll stand up to the special interests, fighting to make quality health care available for all and working to curb climate change.”

His campaign also said he has raised $1.1 million to date.

Locally, Hoboken Councilwoman-at-Large Emily Jabbour donated $500, as did Hoboken Acting Fire Chief Anton Peskens and Fire Capt. Audra Carter.

Amardeep Bhalla, the mayor’s brother, chipped in $3,300 (as did a few other family members), attorney Kerry Flowers wrote a check for $1,500, the same amount contributed by Foundation Risk Partners CEO John Graham, a city vendor.

Furthermore, Pat Light, a Hoboken bar owner and business partner of Assemblyman John Allen (D-32), gave $5,000, Joe Maraziti, a redevelopment attorney for the city, donated $1,000, while Hoboken Policemen’s Benevolent Association President Marc Marsi got involved at $3,300.

Mark Settembre, a Hoboken-based developer, also put in $3,300 for the cause.

As far as notable disbursements go, Bhalla spent $16,843.16 on Arizona-based Paragon Payment Solutions $7,500 on Justin Shoham’s Enigma Political Consulting, and $5,000 on legal consulting with New York-based Venable LLP.

He also gave $5,200 to then Hudson County Executive Democratic nominee Craig Guy, $12,500 to the Jersey City Democratic Organization, $5,000 to state Senate President Nick Scutari (D-22), and $5,000 to the Essex County Democratic Committee.

Meanwhile, the incumbent raised $348,068.19 in the fourth quarter, roughly doubling what he had done heading into election season.

For starters, Graham donated $6,600 to Menendez, Janine Cretella, who owns Liberty House and other restaurants, contributed $3,000, former Jersey City Corporation Counsel Bill Matsikoudis gave $1,000, Mercury Public Affairs Partner Michael Solimon chipped in $2,500, with Hoboken attorney Steven Kleinman writing a check for $500.

Jersey City-based developer Joe Panepinto donated $6,600, Kushner Real Estate Group President Jonathan Kushner came in at $3,300, high-powered law firm Scarinci Hollenbeck chipped in $3,000, the same amount that partner/founder Donald Scarinci gave.

As Bhalla’s campaign pointed out, he had a fair amount of contributions from PACs: $141,500 from PACs, including $69,000 from corporate PACS and $10,000 from his father, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez’s leadership PAC. Another $41,200 came from lobbyists.

Furthermore, Rep. Menendez spent $16,444.05 on Washington, D.C.-based GLH Consulting, Inc. for fundraising consulting, $12,500 on Gragert Research, a Chicago-based opposition research firm, $10,000 on New York-based Renaissance Campaign Strategies, and $6,000 on Samantha Maltzman for fundraising services.

A third declared Democrat in the race, Kyle Jasey, the son of former Assemblywoman Mila Jasey, reported raising $46,532 and has $26,355.07 cash on hand.

The primary is on June 4th, with the filing deadline on March 25th.

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