Home>Campaigns>Gubernatorial general election spending surpasses $45 million

Gov. Phil Murphy, left. and former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli. (Photos: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe.)

Gubernatorial general election spending surpasses $45 million

Murphy benefiting from more than $18 million in outside spending

By Joey Fox, October 25 2021 10:30 am

The total spending in this year’s gubernatorial election has reached $45,871,086 since the June primary – a huge increase from the $28 million total reported three weeks ago – and $76,019,495 overall, according to a report released today by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.

Of that nearly $46 million in spending, Gov. Phil Murphy and Republican gubernatorial nominee Jack Ciattarelli are in a stalemate; Murphy has spent $12,553,403, while Ciattarelli has spent $12,441,665. Because Murphy has raised more overall, however, he has a significant cash-on-hand advantage for the final week of the race: $3,478,512 to Ciattarelli’s $685,259.

ELEC executive director Jeff Brindle noted that, even though Ciattarelli was outraised, the Republican has been a more prolific fundraiser than his recent predecessors.

“Ciattarelli has received more than three times as much public funds as the Republican candidate in 2017 and nearly five times more than the Democratic contender in 2013,’’ Brindle said. “He has raised more public funds than even Chris Christie in 2009, who defeated incumbent Governor Jon Corzine.” 

In addition to outraising Ciattarelli, Murphy has also been the beneficiary of significantly more spending from outside groups. Of the $20,876,018 in total independent expenditures, $18,171,164, or 87%, has been spent in support of Murphy. 

More than half of that total came from just two groups, Our NJ (funded by the Democratic Governors Association) and Garden State Forward (an arm of the New Jersey Education Association), while several unions also contributed sizable sums.

Ciattarelli, meanwhile, only had $2,704,854 spent on his behalf. The Republican Governors Association, which is spending $2,154,348, was by far his largest independent spender.

“Independent spending committees, which barely existed 15 years ago, now play a major role in state elections,” Brindle said, adding that independent groups had only spent $10.6 million at this point in 2017. “A significant share of spending in each statewide election now comes from these groups.”

This story was edited at 10:48 a.m. to reflect the fact that Our NJ is linked with the Democratic Governors Association.

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