The New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) has released the dollar amounts needed for the Fair and Clean Elections Pilot Program. There will three districts chosen for the program: One represented by three Democrats, an entirely Republican one, and a mixed district. According to the Courier-Post:
Candidates in one-party districts would get $100,000, but those in split districts would be funded based on the average of the last two Senate and Assembly races in their districts. ELEC released those figures Friday, ranging from $282,275 per candidate in the 7th District, which covers parts of Burlington and Camden counties, to $534,375 per candidate in the 14th District, which includes parts of Mercer and Middlesex counties.
According to the article, there is criticism that the numbers are too high.
Here’s what Speaker Roberts said in a press release:
“The last thing the public needs is to experience Clean Elections sticker shock,” said Roberts (D-Camden). “I am happy ELEC today expressed willingness to allow clean candidates to voluntarily agree to lower spending thresholds. The point of Clean Elections is to wean candidates off big money and allow them to run real grassroots races. Candidates should not be forced to wage high-priced campaigns with public money simply because funds are available.”
What do you think? Should the public put up over a million dollars for LD14? Is that just encouraging spending? Or is it a necessary cost of having fair elections?