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County political parties saw drop in fundraising last year

Democrats and Republicans raised combined $6.9 million in 2020

By David Wildstein, February 09 2021 11:23 am

New Jersey county political parties saw a drop in fundraising in 2020, raising a combined $6.9 million for the 42 organizations after watching some money raising opportunities go away as the state battled the coronavirus pandemic.

That’s the second lowest in a dozen years, according to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.

County parties had raised nearly $8.2 million in 2019, more than $9.7 million in 2018, and nearly $14.6 million in 2017 – the last gubernatorial and State Senate election year.

“I’m sure party leaders knew they had to start picking things up since this year’s election features a race for governor, all 120 legislative seats and multiple county posts,” said Jeff Brindle, the ELEC executive director.  “We all were knocked off balance when the pandemic first swept the state. It is a testament to the resiliency of party officials that they have been able to bounce back somewhat.”

In a state with nearly one million more Democrats than Republicans, and with Democrats in control of state government, Democrats outpaced the GOP in fundraising by a greater than 2-1 margin.

According to ELEC, Democratic party organizations raised $4.9 million, spent $4.26 million, and have $2.6 million cash-on-hand.  The combined Republican county parties raised $1.97 million, spent $1.98 million, and have $443,496 banked.

Among Democrats, Gloucester has the biggest warchest: $576,948.

The top cash-on-hand among Republican county organizations is Monmouth, with $53,811.  Eleven Demcoratic county parties have more money in the bank.

Both parties raised considerably less money than it did in the early 2000s.

Brindle says that was before pay-to-pay laws reduced public contractor contributions and prior to special interest groups competing with county parties for donations.

“Bi-partisan legislative recommendations by ELEC should make it easier for state and county party officials to raise funds,” Brindle said.  “The hope is these reforms will shift contributions from so-called “dark money” spenders that have rapidly grown in influence in recent years back to more accountable and transparent party committees.”

Source: New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.
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