Hirsh Singh reportedly promised the New Jersey GOP he would fund his own campaign with $2 million. But he has less than $120,000 and lives with his dad.
After longtime Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) announced his retirement from Congress, "wealthy multimillionaire" engineer Hirsh Singh reportedly told Republican leaders in the Garden State that he would take care of it, using $2 million of his own money in a campaign to keep New Jersey's 2nd Congressional District red.
Just one problem. It turns out — to the fury of local GOP officials — that Singh is not a multimillionaire, and doesn't have even close to $2 million in the bank.
In fact, according to Singh's latest financial filing, his only assets are a 401(k) containing $50,001-$100,000, and up to $15,000 from when he, quote, "Hit black 13 on Roulette in Atlantic City after the first annual GOP Leadership Summit ;-)."
His statement also includes a pair of loans from Goldman Sachs and LendingClub, totaling somewhere between $25,000 and $75,000.
It is possible Singh assumed his much-wealthier father, who he lives with, would spot him the cash, as he did with a $950,000 loan to Singh's failed gubernatorial campaign last year. Unfortunately for him, the loophole that let his father do that only applies to New Jersey state elections, not congressional races.
And now Republicans want answers.
"I clearly remember Hirsh Singh saying he would spend $2 million of his own money on his campaign," said former GOP assemblyman Sam Fiocchi, who is challenging Singh for the nomination. "He said it at the Cape May County convention. Other candidates heard him say it and rank-and-file members of the party heard him. For his campaign manager to say he never said it is untrue."
"I think he better start raising money," said Atlantic County Republican Party chair Keith Davis. "A lot of people supported him based upon the personal wealth he pledged was going to be brought into this campaign."
Indeed, even before Singh's financial overpromises came to light, National Republican Congressional Committee chair Steve Stivers bemoaned Singh as a weak candidate, calling the district a "recruiting hole."
But it may be too late for Republicans to do anything about it. As Daily Kos Elections notes, "Singh earned the important 'organization line' in Atlantic County as well as in Ocean County, which comprises about 10 percent of the vote. That gives him a distinct advantage in the primary, since his name will appear in a separate column from those of his foes. And since those rivals have even less money, name recognition, or external support, Singh remains the front-runner."
New Jersey's 2nd District, which covers the southern portion of the state stretching from the eastern suburbs of Philadelphia to Atlantic City, has stayed firmly in Republican hands since 1995. But the district only backed Trump by 5 points. And with a strong Democratic challenger in state Sen. Jeff Van Drew, the Cook Political Report now rates the seat Lean Democratic.
Republicans are facing a unique crisis in New Jersey. Between Trump's massive unpopularity there, the GOP tax scam hitting the state particularly hard, and lingering hatred for ex-Gov. Chris Christie, polls show that every single one of the five GOP seats there could flip blue.
So Singh's empty promises are exactly the last thing Republicans needed.