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Democratic Assembly candidates have raised more than three times as much as their Republican counterparts and have outspent their opponents by an even greater margin, according to a report released by the Election Law Enforcement Commission.
The state’s Democrats have raised just shy of $11 million this year. Republican candidates have brought in a comparatively meager $3.3 million.
Democrats’ spending advantage is larger, proportionally. They’ve doled out $5.7 million to the GOP’s $1.4 million.
GOP candidates reported having $1.9 million banked, while Democrats had $5.3 million.
The fundraising figures for 2019 aren’t breaking any records.
While candidates have spent more than they had at this point in 2015, the last year when Assembly races were at the top of the ticket, spending is far behind where it was in 2017.
Candidate have spent $7.1 million so far. At this point in 2015, they’d spent $6,589,670. In 2017, that figure was a comparatively-staggering $12,191,375, though all 40 of New Jersey’s State Senate Seats were up for election that year.
The biggest difference comes in independent spending. Put simply, there hasn’t been much of it.
Outside groups, namely General Majority PAC and Garden State Forward, have spent just $728,046 this year. By this point in 2017, they’d spent roughly $10.7 million. In 2015, that figure was about $5.4 million.
“It is still early in the race. In some elections, the heaviest spending comes during the last week or two of the campaign,” ELEC Executive Director Jeff Brindle said. “However, it also could be that most of this year’s races are not viewed as very competitive. Both parties and independent groups may be saving their campaign dollars until next year, when presidential and congressional elections will take place.”
Much of the state’s fundraising and spending is confined to a relatively small number of competitive districts, namely the first, eighth, 11th, 16th, 21st and 25th.
Among those, the 21st district, where Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick and Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz are defending their seats from Democratic challengers Lisa Mandelblatt and Stacey Gunderman, has proven the most expensive.
Candidates there have raised $1,252,504 and spend $960,897 — more than has been raised in every other district except the first, which hosts the year’s only State Senate race.
“Battleground districts always dominate spending,” Brindle said. “Spending in most other districts around the state is lighter because incumbents of both parties face little risk of losing due to redistricting.”