Gov.-elect Phil Murphy spent over twice as much as his opponent Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno in his gubernatorial campaign, according to a report released by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.
Murphy’s campaign raised $14.7 million compared to Guadagno’s $5.7 million. The total cost of the election was estimated to be $79 million when combining money spent by candidates and independent funds.
The 2017 election is now the third-most expensive in New Jersey's history. The 2009 election between Gov. Chris Christie and Gov. Jon Corzine was estimated to cost $80 million when adjusted for inflation, and the 2005 election between Corzine and Gov. Doug Forrester was estimated to cost over $111 million after adjusting for inflation, according to NJELEC.
A significant portion of Murphy’s campaign money came from independent funds. The 2017 election had the highest amount of independent capital funneled into it with a total of $24.5 million.
“The $24.5 million spent independently on the election not only sets a new record, but reflects the growing dominance of these groups in national and New Jersey election,” said Jeff Brindle, NJELEC’s executive director, in a statement.
Murphy received $9.3 million in public funds, the maximum amount available for candidates who prove their viability by raising money above a specific threshold, but the public money only amounted to 26 percent of Murphy’s overall campaign spending.