ELEC is out today with a report on the financial strength of New Jersey’s county political parties. And the big news is there’s a lot of money floating around, and most of it sits with the Democrats. Combined, the Republicans and Dems have a cash reserve of nearly $2.8 million dollars. But Democratic cash-on-hand is $2.1 million; Republicans have $640,560. One factor in the lopsided numbers: Dem House candidates are spreading around more of their own fundraising haul to the county parties, contributing at least $335,571 to county parties in the last 3 years, while Republicans shared only $264,323. So far this year? Ds have given $61,900 while Rs gave only $24,360 to their respective parties.
There’s a lot of money, especially considering last year we elected an entire state government; governor and all 12 legislative seats (plus local elections). This year the stakes are federal; U.S. Senate seat, 12 House seats (including 2 soon-vacant seats held by Republicans), 5 legislative seats (special elections) and locals. Below, how the counties stack up on the D side:
As you see, Bergen, Camden, Essex, Gloucester, Passaic & Union Counties reported cash-on-hand over $100,000, among counties filing their reports, Burlington & Hudson reported negative cash worth, owing more than their cash reserves.
Even given all that, fundraising pales compared to earlier years before parties had so much competition from independent special interest group and public contractors were allowed to make much larger contributions. ELEC recommends legislation they say could make it easier for state and county parties to raise money while shifting funds away from independent special interest groups that dominate federal, state and local elections – county parties are more transparent than many independent groups. In particular, ELEC cites two bills sponsored by Sen. Troy Singleton, S1500 (A1524, Zwicker) and S1479 (A3462, Zwicker) both largely dealing with disclosure issues, and one in the Assembly, A1957, sponsored by Asm Jon Bramnick and Republican colleagues. (See ELEC’s full list of legislative priorities here).
Some more takeaways:
- Dem cash-on-hand is up 123% to $2.1 million. Republican haul up just 21%. Combined $2.8M total is largest C-O-H at the 6-mo point since 2008.