Republican gubernatorial frontrunner Jack Ciattarelli has spent more than $2.1 million on cable TV ad buys in his quest for the nod to challenge Gov. Phil Murphy, according to filings with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.
Cable ads account for a little less than half of the nearly $4.4 million Ciattarelli has spent this cycle and make up the bulk of spending from the nearly $3.6 million in public matching dollars he received through May 7.
He’s expended an additional $277,429 on digital ads, plus another $23,388.14 on mixed media buys. The former assemblyman also put $125,003 behind television ads on network TV.
The frontrunner’s spending on radio ads has been laxer. He reported $19,918.00 in spending on that platform.
Lawn signs, billboards and campaign literature account for another $143,544.98 in spending. The Somerset County native has spent even more on mailers. Those have cost him $171,838.27 since March.
Despite being a clear favorite for the Republican nomination, Ciattarelli has spent $117,500 on polls. At least one of those measured Gov. Phil Murphy’s approval rating.
Ciattarellli’s campaign consultants — this figure does not include core campaign staff who are paid salaries — have been paid at least $298,733, his filings show.
The organization-backed candidate has recruited a broad stable of political consultants, including, among several others, Burlington County guru Angelo Lamberto, Checkmate Strategies — a top Republican consulting firm run by Chris Russell — and data firm Causeway Solutions.
The $102,000 paid to the latter firm accounts for a little more than a third of Ciattarelli’s spending on consultants reported in his 29-day pre-election report.
Ciattarelli is the only Republican to qualify for the state’s public fund matching program. His campaign has drastically outraised primary challengers Philip Rizzo and Hirsh Singh, bringing in nearly $5.7 million to their respective $563,263 and $527,353.
While Rizzo has received financial support from some prominent Republicans, Ciattarelli still has the advantage there.
Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) gave the frontrunner $2,500 through a committee transfer. Hunterdon County Clerk Mary Melfi transferred $4,900 from her own candidate committee.
Former Rep. Frank LoBiondo also gave Ciattarelli $2,500 from his campaign account.
Former U.S. Senate candidate Bob Hugin donated $4,900 from his own pocket, and former House candidate Frank Pallotta transferred $3,000 from his candidate committee. Pallotta intends to run for the fifth district’s House seat again next year.
Ocean County’s Republican Finance Committee donated $2,500, perhaps to compete with the $2,600 donated to Rizzo by a PAC with ties to former Ocean County Chairman George Gilmore.
IBEW Local 102 maxed out their donation to Ciattarelli, giving him $4,900. The group’s PAC gave the same amount to Rizzo.