In Brief

N.J. Democratic groups maintain fundraising edge in first half of 2021

By: - July 28, 2021 7:00 am
a photo of $100 bills

The 21 Democratic county organizations brought in $1.56 million between January and June. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Democratic county party organizations continued to outraise their Republican counterparts in the first six months of 2021, the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission announced Tuesday.

The 21 Democratic county organizations brought in $1.56 million between January and June, while GOP county party committees raised just shy of $870,000.

Despite outspending the Republican groups more than 2-to-1, Democratic organizations had a little less than $2.5 million banked. The Republican groups had a little more than $574,000 in reserves.

The combined total of just over $3 million is lower than what county organizations had banked by this point in 2017, the last year the state’s governorship was on the ballot. It also lags behind war chest totals in 2019, when 80 seats in the lower chamber came up for a vote, and 2003, when all 120 legislative seats were up for election.

Despite the relative largess of the county war chests, fundraising for the organizations was near its lowest point for the last 20 years after adjustments for inflation.

“Cash-on-hand is an important barometer of a political committee’s financial strength,” ELEC Executive Director Jeff Brindle said. “While overall county party fundraising has been lagging largely due to the pandemic, the collective war chest of more than $3 million is certainly respectable at this point in the election year.”

Party leaders have boosted fundraising on both sides. Gov. Phil Murphy, who was unopposed in the Democratic primary, has transferred $65,927 from his campaign committee to Democratic county organizations. The Democratic Governors Association, where Murphy is finance chairman, has sent $37,000 to Bergen County Democrats.

Republican State Chairman Bob Hugin, whom Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli backed for the position, has donated the same amount to Republican organizations in Union and Atlantic counties.

Brindle is expecting outside sources to boost fundraising numbers further in the coming months.

“Whenever you have the governor’s seat and all 120 legislative seats up for grabs, it raises the stakes, especially since only New Jersey and Virginia have gubernatorial races this year,” he said. “Counties play a key role in helping with get-out-the-vote and other activities during a major state election year. In addition to tapping their reserves, they are likely to receive additional funds.”

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Nikita Biryukov
Nikita Biryukov

Nikita Biryukov most recently covered state government and politics for the New Jersey Globe. His tenure there included revelatory stories on marijuana legalization, voting reform and Rep. Jeff Van Drew's decamp to the Republican Party. Earlier, he worked as a freelancer for The Home News Tribune and The Press of Atlantic City.