The New Jersey Democratic State Committee raised $1,459,997 during the first three months of 2018 and has $458,431 cash-on-hand, according to reports filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission. The Republican State Committee raised $85,065 and has $96,860 in the bank.
Coming off the 2017 legislative campaigns, the Senate Democrats raised $50,298 and have $60,926 in their warchest. Senate Republicans raised $48,000 and has $47,477 cash-on hand. Assembly Democrats raised $195,043 and have $44,848 in cash, while Assembly Republicans raised $64,100 and have $106,078.
Those numbers are important of the 38th legislative district special election this fall. The resignation of State Sen. Bob Gordon to join the Board of Public Utilities has created an unprecedented three special elections this fall. State Sen. Joseph Lagana resigned from the Assembly to go to the Senate, and Assemblyman Tim Eustace quit the Assembly after not getting the Senate seat and is the new deputy executive director of the North Jersey District Water Commission.
“This spike in campaign finance activity was unusual. The Big Six committees typically are tapped out after a big election year,” said Jeff Brindle, ELEC’s Executive Director.
Brindle noted that the big Democratic state party expense this year was Gov. Phil Murphy’s inaugural.
“One decent quarter can’t mask the fact that overall party fundraising and spending has declined sharply since the early 2000s,” said Brindle. “We continue to hope the legislature and governor will support ELEC- recommended legislation that would try to reverse this slide. Reinvigorating parties is important because party committees are more accountable and transparent than many of the independent groups that now dominate state and national elections,” he said.
Democrats must also defend Assembly incumbents in the 15th, 32nd 34th, and 36th districts after legislators who won in 2017 left to join the Murphy administration. None of those districts are remotely competitive for Republicans.