The state’s six main party organizations have reached their highest fundraising levels since 2013, according to a July 18 state fundraising report by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.
The reports finds Democrats are a full step ahead in GOP fundraising, thanks to their full control of the governorship and state Legislature.
“The election of [Gov. Phil] Murphy I think probably had intensified their fundraising,” said NJELEC Executive Director Jeff Brindle. “Normally that happens, it doesn’t matter if it’s Republican or Democrat, usually in the first year following an election. The party of the government-elect and governor normally does better in fundraising.”
New Jersey’s three state-level Democratic organizations raised just over $2.5 million between Jan. 1 and June 30, with $1.3 million in cash-on-hand, or available to be spent according to the NJELEC report.
Republicans on the other hand, had $465,327 in their coffers, with $392,628 in cash-on-hand, during that same time period.
The Democrat fundraising was done by three groups, the New Jersey Democratic State Committee and two legislative PACs, the Senate Democratic Majority and Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee.
GOP fundraising was done by the statewide New Jersey Republican State Committee and two legislative PACS, the Senate Republican Majority and the Assembly Republican Victory.
These six groups, called the Big Six, make up the bulk of political party fundraising, Brindle said, and before the rise of super PACs and independent interest groups, were the main source of campaign finance for a candidate.
“It is encouraging to see some improvement in Big Six fundraising this year. But the committees have a long way to go before they are as flush as 2007, particularly in comparison to independent groups, which, just last year spent $48 million to influence the gubernatorial and legislative elections,” Brindle said.
Brindle said he doubted the 2018 Congressional midterms had any impact on the fundraising numbers. The same is true for the U.S. Senate race between Democrat incumbent Bob Menendez and Republican challenger Bob Hugin, Brindle said.
“Tangentially it could be, but I don’t really think to any great degree, because most of your Congressional candidates are going to have their own campaign accounts and raising their own money” Brindle told NJBIZ.
And even Gov. Phil Murphy’s 2019 midterm elections might not make much of a dent on the six group’s fundraising prospects, Brindle said. The big bucks generally come in through independent groups and Super PAC’s.