The first legislative district has overtaken the 21st as the state’s most expensive battleground district, the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission announced Friday.
So far, candidates and independent expenditure groups have spent just over $2.5 million on the contests in the first district, which is host to the year’s only State Senate race.
There, State Sen. Bob Andrzejczak is fighting to hold his seat against Cumberland County Republican Chairman Michael Testa.
Assemblymen Bruce Land and Matt Milam face Ocean City Councilman Antwan McClellan and Lower Township Mayor Erik Simonsen.
Candidates there have spent a little more than $1.5 on the contest, while outside groups have spent $991,711.
Though those numbers top those of every other district, they’re not that far ahead of spending figures in the 21st, where Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick and Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz face challenges from Democrats Lisa Mandelblatt and Stacey Gunderman.
Candidates there have spend just shy of $1.4 million, while outside groups have spent $764,110. That puts total spending for the district at $2,152,408.
Spending in the eighth district, where Assemblyman Ryan Peters and former Burlington County Sheriff Jean Stanfield face Democrats Gina LaPlaca and Mark Natale, isn’t too far behind.
Outside groups have spent $736,672, while the candidates have spent roughly $1.1 million.
Those three districts have sucked up most of the outside money going into this year’s races.
Candidates in the 11th district have outspent those in the eighth, putting out about $1.2 million, but outside groups have spent just $273,299 in the district.
They didn’t spend anything in LD16, where candidates have spent just under $1.1 million.
Those five districts account for 49% of the candidate spending in the state and 56% of spending from outside groups.
Spending was surprisingly low in the 25th legislative district, where candidates have spent just $784,941, and independent expenditure groups have spent just $104,092.
“Battleground or swing districts historically tend to attract the largest amounts of money and this year is no exception,” ELEC Executive Director Jeff Brindle said. “These usually are districts where margins of victory are smallest and both parties see opportunities. It is conceivable, however, that the overall spending, including that of independent groups, is down because they are saving their fund-raising efforts for next year’s congressional and presidential elections.”
Also worth noting is the fact that General Majority PAC, an outside group with ties to South Jersey powerbroker George Norcross, is responsible for nearly half of the independent expenditures made this year.
The group has spent $2.56 million. The independent expenditure total for the year so far is $5.43 million.