Mike Ferguson was elected in 2000 with 50 percent of the vote after prevailing in a hard-fought primary that included state Assemblyman Joel Weingarten and Tom Kean Jr., son of the former two-term governor. Both claimed Ferguson got undue financial help from the conservative Council for Responsible Government. He was his own biggest booster in the general election, loaning his campaign about one-third of the $2.25 million it spent.
New Jersey's Democratic organization complained to the FEC that Ferguson made the loans illegally, using money received as a gift from his parents.
He was re-elected in 2002 with 58 percent of the vote.
In 1998, Ferguson ran against an entrenched incumbent in a different congressional district, the 6th, and lost despite heavy independent funding from the HMO lobby.