Home>Campaigns>‘Big Six’ campaign committees collectively raised $16.9 million in 2021

New Jersey Republican chairman Bob Hugin at a Somerset County Republicans rally. (Photo by Nikita Biryukov).

‘Big Six’ campaign committees collectively raised $16.9 million in 2021

By Joey Fox, January 20 2022 10:24 am

According to a report released today by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC), the state’s “Big Six” fundraising committees raised a total of $16.9 million, the highest inflation-adjusted total since 2011.

But as ELEC executive director Jeff Brindle noted in the release, that’s still a far lower total than the fundraising seen in the 2000s, indicating a continued erosion of the state committees’ ability to raise funds.

“This is a classic good news, bad news situation,” Brindle said. “It is great to see the Big Six raise nearly $17 million last year. But its average annual fund-raising from 2011 through 2021 was just $9.1 million. That is just 56 percent of the $16.3 million average for the previous decade.”

For example, the Big Six committees raised $14.8 million in 2002 – which would be around $23 million in today’s dollars – despite there being no gubernatorial or state legislative elections that year.

Brindle noted that this decline in fundraising, exacerbated by the fact that contribution limits to state committees have not been adjusted for inflation, means that independent groups have taken on an outsized role in state elections.

“As political parties have weakened, independent spending by special interests has come to dominate New Jersey elections,” he said. “If parties can raise more funds, they may be able to slow or reverse this trend.”

Broken down by party, Democrats massively outraised Republicans, with the three Democratic committees raising $13.3 million compared to Republicans’ $3.5 million. 

The overall state Democratic committee raised $9.9 million and its two legislative affiliates raised $3.5 million; the state Republican committee, by contrast, raised just $2 million and its legislative affiliates $1.5 million.

Those mismatched totals didn’t stop Republicans from having a successful November, however. Republican gubernatorial nominee Jack Ciattarelli nearly upset Gov. Phil Murphy, and a number Republican state legislative candidates who were drastically outspent emerged victorious.

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