PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Another prominent Democrat is weighing in on the race to replace Congressman Jim Langevin, as alarm grows in the party about losing the seat to Republican Allan Fung.
New Jersey U.S. Sen. Cory Booker announced Monday he is endorsing former Biden administration official Sarah Morgenthau in the Democratic primary for the 2nd Congressional District. She worked on Booker’s successful 2006 mayoral campaign in Newark, New Jersey.
“She had faith in me at a time few others did, and came to work for my mayoral campaign in Newark, which was no easy thing,” Booker said in a statement.
“I am asking the voters of Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District to have the same faith in Sarah Morgenthau that she had in me,” he continued. “Sarah is hardworking, compassionate, and knows how to get things done in Washington. She’s the best candidate to keep this seat under Democratic control come November, and I am proud to endorse her.”
Booker is the second U.S. senator and former presidential candidate to endorse Morgenthau, along with New York’s Kirsten Gillibrand.
The high-profile endorsement comes as other Democrats, including Langevin and Massachusetts Congressman Jake Auchincloss, have been pushing the party to rally around the frontrunner, General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, after a recent poll showed all the Democratic hopefuls trailing Fung in a general-election matchup.
Magaziner continues to lead the pack in fundraising. His campaign said Monday he raised just under $700,000 during the second quarter, finishing with $1.7 million cash on hand as of June 30. Morgenthau’s campaign previously said she raised about $324,000, finishing with $612,000 on hand.
The other three Democratic candidates — Joy Fox, David Segal and Omar Bah — have not announced their quarterly fundraising totals yet.
Three independent polls of Democratic primary voters in the 2nd District have been released publicly so far, and all three showed roughly a third of voters backing Magaziner, with the other Democrats trailing behind in single-digits.
Meanwhile, Fung’s campaign is drawing more national attention, as the GOP seeks to flip a seat Democrats have held since 1991. A Politico story published Monday highlighted Fung as one of the Republican Party’s stronger recruits for otherwise hard-to-win seats.
“I think there’s a lot of buyer’s remorse in President Biden,” Fung told Politico.
A spokesperson said Fung’s campaign raised roughly $355,000 during the second quarter, finishing with about $762,000 cash on hand as of June 30 — suggesting he may still be the best-funded candidate in the 2nd District other than Magaziner.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee continued to fire away at Fung on Monday, criticizing him for his appearance over the weekend on WPRI 12’s Newsmakers. Party spokesperson James Singer characterized his performance as a “face-plant.”
“Yet again, Fung has made clear he is going to Washington to stand with Congressional Republicans instead of Rhode Island families,” Singer said.
Fung dismissed such Democratic criticism during the interview, saying he is focused on the inflation crisis and arguing it wouldn’t be a bad thing for Rhode Islanders to elect a Republican this fall.
“News flash: the Republicans are going to take control of Congress,” he said. “Rhode Islanders need a voice with someone on the opposite side, on the side of the majority.”
Ted Nesi (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Target 12 investigative reporter and 12 News politics/business editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook