Guadagno Takes Lead in Public Matching Funds

Kim Guadagno. Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno’s campaign for governor has received nearly $1.78 million in public matching funds and that total surpasses all the other candidates from both parties, according to the Election Law Enforcement Commission.

Jim Johnson, a former regulatory and white-collar criminal defense lawyer running for the Democratic nomination, had been in the lead earlier this year. He has received $1.56 million in public funds. Assemblyman John Wisniewski, another Democrat in the race, has gotten $941,607.

The only Republican other than Guadagno to qualify for public matching funds, Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, has received $815,578.

In total, ELEC has approved $5.1 million in matching funds for gubernatorial candidates.

State law allows candidates who raise a minimum of $430,000 to receive public matching funds: two dollars for every one dollar raised, capped at $6.4 million for a primary campaign and $13.8 million in the general election.

Guadagno has raised around $890,000 from donors, for a total haul of $2.7 million. That’s a far cry from the nearly $20 million Democratic front-runner Phil Murphy has raised.

Murphy chose not to participate in the public financing program, and records show he has already blown past the spending limits he would have faced. A former U.S. ambassador to Germany and Goldman Sachs executive, Murphy has loaned his own campaign $15.1 million, a figure that has earned him criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike and unfavorable comparisons to former Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, another wealthy Goldman alum who spent lavishly on his campaigns.

Murphy has raised $19 million in total, including the loan, and spent $18 million.