The 2nd and 8th legislative districts, widely regarded as the two most competitive districts in the state this cycle, have together witnessed $6.1 million in spending from candidates and outside groups, according to a new report from the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC). A near-majority of the spending is coming from two independent groups supporting Democrats.
In the 2nd district, the six candidates have spent a combined $1,240,943, while independent groups have spent a further $2,057,534 to boost them, for a total of $3,298,477. The total spending only represents a small increase from last week’s report, when $3,174,172 was reported having been spent in the district.
Most of the independent expenditures in the 2nd district came from Garden State Forward, an arm of the usually pro-Democratic New Jersey Education Association, which sank a colossal $1,821,377 towards Democrats.
In the 8th district, meanwhile, total spending ballooned from $1,632,693 reported last week to $2,828,544 this week, in large part thanks to a $1.2 million contribution from American Democratic Majority, a Super PAC associated with George Norcross and South Jersey Democrats.
The total spending of $6,127,021 between the two districts represents one third of the total legislative spending in the state, which the report pinned at $18,747,122. But the two districts are commanding a majority – 52% – of all independent expenditures across the state.
“Independent spending committees, which are supposed to operate separate from candidates and parties, have become a major force in New Jersey elections,” ELEC executive director Jeff Brindle said in a statement. “They typically target the most competitive districts and spending so far bears this out.”