Brindle: party PACs drawing money from county organizations

County political parties have raised and spent less money this year than at the same point four years ago – the last time there was a gubernatorial race while all 80 assembly seats were up for reelection.

Fundraising by county committees is down 17% across the board, according to numbers released by the Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC), while spending is down 18%.

The 42 Republican and Democratic committees have raised a combined $7.1 million this year and spend $6.2 million – down from having raised $8.6 million and $7.6 million at this point in 2005.

Jeffrey Brindle, executive director of ELEC, attributed the lower fundraising to the weak economy and new pay-to-play laws, along with a new development.

“More and more we are witnessing political action committees (PACs) being formed, in many instances by party members,” said Brindle. “This activity may be drawing funds away from the county organizations as well.”

Democratic county committees have raised and spent almost four times as much as Republican ones. Combined, Democratic committees have raised $5.6 million and spent $4.8 million, while Republican committees have taken in $1.6 million and spent $1.4 million.

Of the top ten fundraising organizations, all but one – the Burlington County Republican Committee – are Democratic.

The Camden County Democratic Committee leads the pack, having raised $818,844 and spent $616,329. Bergen County Democrats come in second, at $661,020 raised and $563,920 spent. (Camden County Republicans only raised $18,760 and spent $31,565, while Republicans in Bergen County – which is competitive this year – raised the second most of Republican committees, at $177,307).

Burlington County Republicans raised the fifth most money of any committee, at $450,327 raised and $443,481 spent. Their Democratic counterparts did not slouch either, however, raising $376,134 and spending $393,442.

In Monmouth County, which is home to a competitive freeholder race, the Democratic Party has raised more than the local Republicans and spent three times as much. Monmouth Dems have raised $241,672 and spent $219,933 compared to Republicans’ $138,436 in receipts and $71,968 in expenditures.

Essex County Republicans raised the least of all the county committees that reported, taking in no money and spending $881. No information was available for Hudson County Republicans.

Brindle: party PACs drawing money from county organizations