There is a 260% increase in combined fund-raising by state party organizations and legislative leadership during the first six months of 2021 and mid-year spending hit a 14-year high mark at $3.5 million, the most since 2015, the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission announced this morning
“What a difference a year makes,” said Jeff Brindle, ELEC’s Executive Director. “While the COVID-19 crisis is not over, there is more optimism now than last year and that is evident in the fund-raising totals so far.”
The Democrat party continues to outraise more than the Republican party at roughly $2.6 million to $556,000, respectively.
The Democratic Governors Association has sent $25,000 checks each to the Democratic State Committee and the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee to help Gov. Phil Murphy is running for reelection against the Republican nominee, former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli.
“With the governor’s seat and all 120 legislative seats at stake, past years suggest this is just the beginning of what is likely to be sizable spending by national groups on New Jersey’s looming elections,” said Brindle.
Despite the short term increase, Brindle said the legislature needs to strengthen the parties long term, with the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee being at roughly $406,000 and the Assembly Republican Victory being at roughly $343,000.
The changes include raising general contribution limits, ending tight restrictions on contributions by public contractors while imposing them on receipts by PAC’s and requiring independent expenditure committees to conform to the state public disclosure rules as candidates.
The Senate Democratic Majority raised roughly $469,000, outraising the Senate Republican Majority at roughly $119,000.
Fundraising for both parties is up 224% with the Democrats being up 425% and the Republicans being up 100% at the end of the second quarter.
The Democrats have an advantage in all categories over the Republicans. While the commission still takes these increases as a good sign, it also puts a heavy emphasis on legislative reform.
“It is good seeing both parties enjoying a bump from last year, when the pandemic initially wreaked havoc with fund-raising. However, party committees, which are more accountable and transparent than independent committees, need legislative reforms to regain their influence in state elections,” Brindle said.