Murphy Opens 3-to-1 Fundraising Lead Over Guadagno

Phil Murphy. Kevin B. Sanders for Observer

Democrat Phil Murphy has widened his fundraising lead over Republican Kim Guadagno, taking in three times more public matching funds for his gubernatorial campaign so far.

Murphy has pulled in $2.56 million in public funds as of Thursday, according to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission. Guadagno has received nearly $799,000 from the state’s public matching funds program, ELEC said.

Gubernatorial candidates get two dollars in matching funds for every one dollar raised, capped at $9.3 million. Murphy has received 27.6 percent of that total, while Guadagno is at 8.6 percent.

To qualify for public matching funds, candidates must raise $430,000 on their own and must limit their spending to $13.8 million. Based on the disbursements, Murphy has raised roughly $4 million in total fundraising and Guadagno has collected more than $1.3 million.

Murphy, an ex-Goldman Sachs executive, did not seek public matching funds in the primary and poured $16.3 million of his own money into the race, overwhelming his opponents in what became one of the most expensive gubernatorial primaries in state history.

He’s limiting his spending in the general election by accepting public funds. But he will still have help from a newly-formed super political action committee, which can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money. The Committee to Build the Economy has already raised $1 million from three unions to aid Murphy, according to Politico.

Guadagno, who trails Murphy by wide margins in the polls, got some fundraising assistance last month when Republican National Committee co-chair Bob Paduchik came to Ocean County for a fundraiser and rally. Guadagno raised $250,000 from the event, a campaign spokesman said.