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The New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

‘Big Six’ fundraising dips to 20-year low in 2020

By Nikita Biryukov, January 20 2021 10:17 am

Fundraising New Jersey’s state parties and legislative leadership PACs dipped down again in 2020, falling to its lowest level in at least two decades, the Election Law Enforcement Commission announced Wednesday.

The so-called Big Six committees raised just $4.26 million in 2020, the smallest fundraising haul since 2016, when they brought in a little more than $4.5 million.

ELEC pointed to drops in state-level fundraising in federal election years and to the pandemic, which has left hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans jobless.

“Loss of contributions from contractors certainly is one big factor in the steady fund-raising downslide by the Big Six,” ELEC Executive Director Jeff Brindle said.

Fundraising from public contractors dropped by about 94% in the decade following a 2008 executie order that sharply limited contributions to gubernatorial candidates, legislative leadership PACs and political parties at the state, local and county levels.

Democratic groups continued to outraise their Republican counterparts in 2020, though the difference wasn’t as stark as it sometimes was.

The Democratic State Committee brought in about $1.4 million, while the Republican State Committee raised $944,020. The numbers were even closer for Senate leadership PACs.

Senate Democratic Majority reported raising $408,254, while Republican Senate Majority raised $334,100.

The Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee’s fundraising advantage was a stark one. The brough raised $815,492 to Assembly Republican Victory’s $380,922.

The figures put Democratic groups clearly ahead as campaigns move toward 2021’s gubernatorial and legislative races.

Overall, the Democrats had just under $1 million banked, while Republicans had a far slimmer $382,049.

“Party committees are crucial to the electoral system. We must take steps to ease their financial plight,” said Brindle, who has long advocated reforms to push money to party organizations instead of independent outside spending groups.

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