A New Jersey fundraiser for the Democratic Governors Association on Monday evening is expected to raise at least $450,000, according to a source close to the organizers.
The Cherry Hill event is a collaboration between Democratic gubernatorial nominee Phil Murphy and South Jersey power broker George Norcross. Tickets were $2,500 per person, but the invitation noted that the DGA can raise unlimited amounts from U.S. donors.
Murphy and Rep. Donald Norcross (D-1) shared top billing for the event, and another Norcross brother, lobbyist Phil Norcross, was one of the hosts. A source close to the organizers said on the condition of anonymity that the event was on track to raise at least $450,000.
Murphy for months has had a wide margin in polling and fundraising over the Republican nominee, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, and the DGA event was another sign of financial strength for state Democrats ahead of the Nov. 7 election, in which the governorship and all 120 legislative seats will be on the ballot. A DGA-backed group already is spending heavily on an ad attacking Guadagno in the Philadelphia TV market.
Funds from the DGA event on Monday could be spent supporting Murphy or on the other gubernatorial contest this year in Virginia. Virginia’s race is considered much closer and has gotten more national attention this year, but the DGA also is expected to play in New Jersey this year, which experts say is the party’s best chance at flipping a governorship from Republican to Democrat out of 38 races in 2017 and 2018.
A spokesman for Murphy’s campaign declined to comment.
The DGA raised $21 million in the first half of the year. Its GOP counterpart, the Republican Governors Association, raised $36 million in the same period. The RGA backs Guadagno and recently stepped into the New Jersey race with a TV ad attacking Murphy.
Under state law, Murphy can receive donations of up to $4,300 from individuals and cannot spend more than $13.8 million in total on the general election because his campaign is receiving public matching funds. The latest reports from the Election Law Enforcement Commission showed that Murphy had received nearly $5 million in public funds, while Guadagno had gotten close to $1.4 million.