ELEC: Records show NJGOP with nearly $300K deficit; sources say financially floundering party casts doubt on Christie’s coattails and leadership

The New Jersey Republican State Committee has a nearly $300,000 deficit, according to ELEC, as it scrambles to raise money this week to avoid embarrassing the governor while he barnstorms the country. 

As New Jersey lurches toward Nov. 4th, Election Day, the party committee has a hurry-up birthday bash for Christie scheduled for Wednesday evening to try to change the perception of a statewide operation in tatters as Christie hop-scotches nationally (and internationally) in his role as chairman of the Republican Governors Association (RGA) and fledgling prez candidate.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, one Republican said she’s loath to go to the party – in fact, intends not to go – because the pomp-heavy event reinforces a Republican State Committee mostly dedicated to boosting an account (one of three) that most sources laugh off as wholly designed to assist the governor’s presidential aspirations and not buck up the party’s battle efforts here.

Some Republicans note the uncomfortable image for a governor who’s had massive success raising money for out-of-state candidates but has allowed his home party, with a hand-picked chairman, to atrophy. “They have had difficulty raising money,” a GOP source told PolitickerNJ, referring to the Republican State Committee’s efforts.

The state committee tried to quell the fears of county chairs at a meeting last month in East Brunswick. But while several chairs in the room contented themselves to hear of more than the one account showing debt, the committee’s sole flush account is its federal account, whose emphasis, by the reckoning of at least two party sources, is Christie – not the state party.

The governor’s confidant, Bill Palatucci, strongly disagrees.

“This is a federal year,” said Palatucci, underscoring the law that requires the state committee to use the federal account, which this summer showed $326,3777 cash-on-hand.

He would not say which federal races the state GOP plans to fund, but FEC dollars are the best funds to have since they give maximum flexibility, a source said.

The state’s one avowed battleground (CD3) features a self-funder running for the Republican Party.

“They [the Republican State Committee] have certain [New Jersey] races in the state they’re limiting themselves to: [incumbent Bergen County Executive] Kathe Donovan and [CD3 candidate Tom] MacArthur,” one source acknowledged.

To that end, the state committee wants to help countywide efforts on those two battle fronts with victory offices: one in Bergen and Burlington.

But the ticket sales for Wednesday’s bash aren’t exactly setting hearts aflutter in GOP world, another source said.

There are ways around the mess, which reinforce the perception of weak party committees routinely bemoaned by ELEC. Formerly slated to undertake a new job as chairman of the NJ State Committee, Bill Stepien crashed and burned as a casualty of Bridgegate, and has since repackaged himself as a $6,000 per-month consultant for GOPAC, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit helping to raise funds for the Bergen exec’s race among its nationwide priorities, according to a Star-Ledger report.

But such maneuvers hardly project party strength in NJ.

Gallows humor among party members surrounds another scheduled fundraiser next week for U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Bell, who starts the fall season in debt against Christie’s longtime cross-the-aisle ally, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ).

“Oh, please,” one source griped when PolitickerNJ asked about the Bell fundraiser.

“Everybody knows he’s leaving,” said the source, referring to Christie. “There’s fundraising fatigue. I think there are people in the party who hoped he would use his national presence to help the NJGOP, and of course, he’s not, and so it’s disheartening when everyone’s fighting here.”

These are party members still stung by Christie’s decision last year to mostly avoid legislative battlegrounds, who absorbed losses everywhere and contributed to grumbling within party ranks that the governor has no coattails.

An ongoing concern among Republicans in battle mode as the governor jet sets nationally is that not only can’t anyone else get elected in NJ with Christie’s help, but the party structure under his watch, specifically designed for home state party efforts, is totally broke — so much for fiscal conservatism.

According to ELEC, the party’s debts exceed its assets by $293,530, with at least two creditors owed more than $100,000.

 

Drinker Biddle (old law firm) 86,510.00

 

Squire Patton Boggs 125,000.00

 

Sen Joseph Kyrillos Committee 11,500.00

 

Timothy Howes 4,334.00

 

Stroz Freberg (documentation) 223,425.00

 

 

 

Total Debt 450,769.00

 

 

 

Cash on hand 6/30/14 157,239.00

 

 

 

Deficit (293,530.00)

 

The FEC numbers are below:

Beginning Cash On Hand: $303,530  
Ending Cash On Hand: $326,377  
Net Contributions: $611,138  
Net Operating Expenditures: $118,217  
Debts/Loans Owed By: $0  
Debts/Loans Owed To: $0  
ELEC: Records show NJGOP with nearly $300K deficit; sources say financially floundering party casts doubt on Christie’s coattails and leadership