The New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) has released an advisory opinion that limits spending from candidates who are running for both governor and another office simultaneously, advising that coordinated expenditures from a 2024 federal campaign will apply to expenditure limits on a 2025 gubernatorial campaign.
The opinion was issued in response to a request from David Maradie, a Glen Rock resident who claims he plans to run for U.S. Senate in 2024 and governor in 2025. Maradie asked if a Senate campaign can make “unlimited coordinated expenditures … that promote or aid the gubernatorial candidate’s image and likeness without affecting the available matching funds in that gubernatorial campaign.”
Amanda Haines, ELEC’s deputy legal director, wrote that the answer is no.
“The Campaign Act and Commission Regulations do not permit your gubernatorial candidate committee to receive unlimited coordinated expenditures from your Senate committee,” she wrote. “All contributions received by your gubernatorial candidate committee from your Senate committee, including coordinated expenditures, are subject to the contribution limit.”
Maradie’s original request was far broader, asking whether any spending made by his prospective Senate campaign that increases his name recognition would run afoul of matching fund limits. After being prompted by ELEC to make a more specific request, Maradie narrowed his focus to coordinated expenditures from his Senate campaign.
ELEC’s opinion may apply to a number of prospective 2025 gubernatorial candidates, most prominently U.S. Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) and Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair). Both Gottheimer and Sherrill will be running for re-election in 2024; if either of them chooses to run for governor and launches their campaign before the 2024 election cycle is over, their spending will be subject to the limitations ELEC spelled out today.
As for Maradie himself, it’s not likely that he actually intends to run for Senate and governor, despite what he says in his request. Maradie, a “neuromodulation sales representative” at the medical device company Medtronic, has never run for office before – let alone for the two highest offices in the state, simultaneously – and has very little online presence.
But what he does have are connections to Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop. Fulop’s wife Jaclyn appears to be friends with Maradie and his wife, and Maradie was pictured with Jaclyn Fulop in a 2012 Facebook post.
And Fulop, of course, is running for governor in 2025, making Gottheimer, Sherrill, and other prospective candidates his would-be opponents. Just yesterday, Fulop said in an email to his supporters that the governor’s office is the only one he’s aiming for – another oblique attack on those who might try to run for multiple offices at once.
“There is no fall back position, no hedge, no political seat we are holding onto in case this candidacy doesn’t work out,” he wrote.