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

‘Big Six’ fundraising takes a dive in 2nd quarter

Contributions drop by 36% in Q2

By Nikita Biryukov, July 17 2020 11:39 am

Fundraising by New Jersey’s state parties and legislative leadership PACs dropped sharply in the second quarter of 2020, according to the Election Law Enforcement Commission.

In the second quarter, fundraising by the Republican State Party and its Senate and Assembly leadership packs dropped to $139,038, or 52% less than party brought in in the year’s first quarter.

Democrats saw less far less severe drops. The $386,070 they raised in the second quarter was just 27% less than their first quarter fundraising haul.

“We’ve seen stories that some candidates nationally and in areas like New York City are having fundraising difficulties due to the virus crisis,” ELEC Executive Director Jeff Brindle said. “Based solely on fundraising numbers for the recent quarter, it seems to be presenting a challenge here as well.”

The big six organizations have raised roughly $1.3 million this year, the lowest amount since 2014, though they raised more that year when inflation is accounted for.

The COVID-19 crisis has also seen a large number of fundraising events cancelled.

None of the big six organizations held fundraisers during the second quarter this year, though that changed after one of the groups held a fundraiser earlier this week.

“There is still time for party officials to play catch-up. The two state parties have raised the most cash so far this year and they are more likely to get involved in this year’s federal election,” Brindle said. “The four legislative leadership PACs tend to be most active in state election years, which isn’t until next year.”

By June 30, the three Democratic groups held significant cash leads over their Republican counterparts.

The Democratic groups raised $914,026 through the end of the second quarter, while the Republican groups raised just $428,466.

The GOP also trailed significantly in spending, $343,791 to $746,838 and had less than half of the Democratic groups’ cash on hand. The Democratic groups had $622,127 banked, while the Republicans had $289,802.

Brindle again stressed the need to increase contribution limits for donations made to political parties.

“Today’s virus crisis is one more threat to the political party system in New Jersey,” he said. “Steps must be taken to help parties survive this and other challenges because ultimately parties are more transparent and accountable than a system dominated by ‘dark money’ groups.”

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