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

Big six fundraising, spending still subpar

Republican groups’ fundraising down 32% after inflation adjustment

By Nikita Biryukov, October 17 2019 11:32 am

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Though they’ve exceeded fundraising benchmarks they set in 2015, New Jersey’s big six are still far behind where they were a decade ago.

The state’s legislative leadership committees and state parties raised a total of $3.7 million and spend $3.5 million on the year’s Assembly races.

The fundraising puts them on roughly the pace as they had in 2018. At this point last year, they had raised $3.8 million and spent $3.3 million.

By this point in 2015, the last time Assembly races were at the top of the ticket, the big six had raised $2.2 million and spent a little less than $2 million.

Democratic organizations accounted for a majority of the fundraising this year.

The Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee, which raised the most, received a little more than $1 million in contributions and has spent $1.4 million on the year’s races. It has $292,341 left in its coffers.

By contrast, Assembly Republican Victory has raised $439,250 and spent $346,223. Despite lagging in fundraising, the Republican leadership PAC has a roughly-equal amount of cash on hand, $280,059.

Both state parties saw mostly even fundraising. The Democratic State Committee raised $876,249 and spent $852,103, while the Republican State Committee brought in $802,100 and doled out $595,872.

Republicans have the cash-on-hand advantage there with $324,030 banked. Democrats have $126,827.

The trend didn’t hold for Senate Democratic Majority. The group raised $392,525 to Senate Republican Majority’s $152,092. The Democratic group has $489,418 banked while the Republican one had just $184,045 on hand.

Fundraising was down roughly 32% from 2015 when adjusted for inflation among the Republican groups. For Democratic ones, it was up about 25%.

Election Law Enforcement Commission executive director Jeff Brindle repeated an oft-given, saying the power given to outside groups by Citizens United was continuing to curb the power of New Jersey’s state parties and leadership PACs.

“The decline of the parties has increased the clout of independent groups, which are far less accountable and transparent. These groups now dominate the electoral process in New Jersey and nationally,” Brindle said. “ELEC’s legislative fixes should help reverse this trend.”

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