New Jersey’s Democratic and Republican county organizations raised a combined $9.7 million in 2018, the most in a federal election year since 2008, when counties raised a combine $9.5 million, according to the Election Law Enforcement Commission.
Democrats brought in the lion’s share of that $9.7 million, raising $5.4 million to Republicans’ $4.3 million. The party that now holds 11 of New Jersey’s 12 House seats also ended 2018 with a significant cash advantage, with almost $2.5 million on hand to Republicans’ $961,180.
Most of the cash remaining with the GOP’s county organizations can be credited to former U.S. Senate candidate Bob Hugin, who gave the organizations $806,210 — most of the $920,510 Republican organizations raised in 2018 — during his unsuccessful run to unseat U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez.
“As we’ve seen in the past, self-financed candidates often share their wealth with county organizations. It helps win support for their candidacies while creating valuable allies during the election,” ELEC Executive Director Jeff Brindle said.
That figure, plus a further $25,000 to the Republican State Committee, brings Hugin’s total spent for the 2018 election to $36,831,210.
Republicans organizations finished the year with $961,926 in their war chest, while Democrats had almost $2.5 million banked at the end of the year.
There is a silver lining for Republicans. The Somerset Republican Organization finished the year with $157,116 on hand. The Democratic organization there had a comparatively meager $38,621. The county is host to parts of the 21st and 25th legislative districts, where some of the year’s most competitive Assembly races will be fought.