Republican gubernatorial candidate Phil Rizzo railed against the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission’s decision to deny him public financing over a late and deficient application.
“This ruling is unjust but not surprising,” he said in a statement. “It denies voters the opportunity to hear a conservative message through the public matching funds. Our efforts will not slowdown. We will continue the fight with the support of our grassroots base.”
ELEC on Thursday denied an appeal filed by Rizzo seeking to overturn the commission’s initial denial, which was made because the candidate filed his application for public matching funds more than 24 hours after the April 5 deadline.
He also filed without saying how he planned to spend the $490,000 needed to qualify for public dollars.
His second application, filed on April 19, included necessary information about contributions and expenditures — many of those were shown through contracts entered into after the April 5 deadline — but was still denied over its lateness.
Without acknowledging application deficiencies recognized by his campaign, Rizzo suggested the commission was conspiring against him.
“I am the conservative political outsider in this race. While we have operated within all state process and procedures, the establishment continues to work to ensure our Conversative voices are suppressed,” he said.
Former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, the GOP primary frontrunner, has received just shy of $2.9 million in public dollars, about 63% of the $4.6 million cap for the primary.
Gov. Phil Murphy, the only Democrat on the ballot for the governorship, has maxed out his primary match.
But the Hudson County pastor didn’t believe the cash gap would sink his campaign.
“New Jersey is only one of two state Gubernatorial elections in 2021. Around the country, Conservative Republican are focused on this New Jersey GOP primary race,” he said. “I believe today’s ELEC ruling will only galvanize Conservative voters and create more endorsements and greater fundraising efforts.”