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The State House in Trenton. (Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

‘Big Six’ fundraising, cash reserves at lagging

Republicans bring in 43% less than they did in 2015

By Nikita Biryukov, July 17 2019 10:39 am

New Jersey’s two major-party state committees and four legislative leadership PACs brought in about $2.3 million between Jan. 1 and June 30 but finished with the smallest election-year cash reserves in more than a decade, according to the Election Law Enforcement Commission.

The Democratic state committee and the leadership committees, Senate Democratic Majority and Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee, outraised their Republican counterparts roughly 2-1, bringing in $1.5 million to Republcians’ $750,411.

The same was true for spending. Democrats shelled out a little over $1.1 million, while the Republican groups spent $599,724.

Democrats finished the quarter with $1.4 million banked, while Republicans had $627,771.

Like cash reserves, organization fundraising is the lowest it has been for more than a decade during a state election, even before inflation is taken into account.

By this point in 2015, the last year Assembly seats were at the top of the ticket, the partisan groups had raised about $2.5 million.

“A dollar today has less buying power than four years ago,” ELEC executive director Jeff Brindle said. “So it isn’t good news for party leaders that the combined cash-on-hand of the Big Six is the lowest in more than a decade for an election year.”

The declines are on the Republican side.

Compared to 2015, spending by the GOP party organizations is down 44% and fundraising is down 43%. The groups have a little more than half, 49%, the amount of money they had banked at this point in 2015.

The Democratic groups saw their numbers surge in the other direction.

Fundraising for them is up 32% compared to 2015.

Spending has increased by 24%, and the groups’ collective reserves are up 57% from where they were at this point in 2015.

Brindle said the declines on the Republican side were potentially a cause for worry, adding that the state needed reforms to reverse declining party fundraising.

“Party committees represent voter-elected officials, and they need to be reinvigorated,” Brindle said. “Otherwise, special interest groups that are not elected by citizens and face no limits on fund-raising will be dictating the political and governmental agendas in New Jersey.”

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