Assembly primary campaigns are relatively low budget

Very little money is is being spent in Republican legislative primaries this year, according to reports filed on May 5 with the Election Law Enforcement Commission.

In terms of cash, the most competitive primary is in District 40, where incumbent Assemblymen Scott Rumana (R-Wayne) and Dave Russo (R-Ridgewood) face businessmen Joseph Caruso and Anthony Rottino.

Including funds left over from their previous campaign balances, Rumana has raised a total of $189,200 and has $78,888 on hand, while Russo has raised $181,375 and has $39,925 on hand. Their joint account raised a total of $99,428 and has $13,254 in cash.

That puts the incumbents at a significant but not overwhelming fundraising advantage over Caruso and Rottino, who did not have previous campaign balances to draw from but wound up out-raising Rumana and Russo during the last fundraising cycle. Caruso raised $64,550 and has $37,175 on hand, while Rottino raised $42,825 and has $32,715 on hand. The joint account for the challengers raised $28,843 and has $5,341 on hand.

In the three man 25th District contest, the two non-incumbents are by far the bigger fundraisers. Tony Bucco, Jr., whose father occupies that district's state Senate seat, raised a total of $58,550 and has the most cash with $27,086. Morris County Freeholder Cabana raised $55,344 in total, but does not have the most cash on hand of any candidate, with $17,300 left over. The lone incumbent in the race, Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris Township), has the least money. He raised $20,119 – most of which came from left over funds — and has $5,214 in cash.

In District 21, incumbent Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield), who's running with the newly-elected Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz (R-Summit) – the widow of his former running mate, Eric Munoz — leads the pack $90,261. Munoz has not raised anything, while challenger Bruce Meringolo raised $2,601 and has $2,379 on hand.

Despite competitive Republican primaries in Districts 3 and 14, none of the candidates in either reported raising any money. Neither has Lou Signorino, who is challenging incumbents Alex DeCroce (R-Parsippany) and Jay Webber (R-Morris Plains) in District 26.

Democrats only have one competitive primary, in District 28, where former Assemblyman Craig Stanley (D-Irvington) is seeking to retake his seat. He's raised $8,017 and has $4,329 in cash. Incumbent Ralph Caputo (D-Belleville) has raised a total of $50,981 and has $31,019 on hand, while incumbent Cleopatra Tucker (D-Newark) has raised $32,052 (none of it from this election cycle) and has $6,623 on hand.

All 80 Assembly candidates will file more up-to-date fundraising numbers on Tuesday. Assembly primary campaigns are relatively low budget