In 2007, District 36 Republican Assembly candidate Don Diorio came within 2,400 votes of unseating incumbent Gary Schaer (D-Passaic).
Diorio and his running mate, Carmen Pio Costa, cam closer that year than most observers expected, and they left state Republicans wringing their hands over failing to put more resources into the district sooner. Two years later, the EnCap development debacle that factored to the Republicans’ advantage in 2007 continues to generate headlines in The Record, and state Republicans have marked the district as one of their top priorities this year.
But fundraising in District 36 has lagged. According to 29 day pre-election reports released today by the Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC), the two District 36 Republican candidates – once again Diorio and Pio Costa — have raised a total of $7,753.
Schaer and running mate Fred Scalera (D-Nutley), by contrast, have raised $437,954 in their joint account and spent almost all of it.
Diorio and Pio Costa have $7,753 on hand to Scalera and Schaer’s left over $8,848.27
Reached by phone, Diorio said that he and Pio Costa have more money than the reports show. For instance, they had a fundraising event Tuesday night that took in $16,000, but was after the disclosure’s cut off date. In fact, Diorio said, the two have raised about $50,000 so far.
Still, most of this race’s resources will come from the Assembly Republican Victory Committee (ARV) – the political arm of the Assembly Minority Office.
“The ARV is supporting us, obviously, and they’re funding all of our media,” said Diorio. “What we lack perhaps in funds we make up in hard work. That means going door-to-door, talking to the voters, reaching out to them and taking their message back.”
The Assembly leadership committees will release their fundraising numbers next week, which could give a better picture of how much they’re putting into District 36. Two sources with knowledge of the group’s strategy say that their total commitment will be in the low six-figure range, at anywhere from $100,000 to just north of $150,000.
“We’re going to be very focused and disciplined in allocating our resources,” said ARV Executive Director Mark Duffy. “We’ve been outspent significantly and prevailed because we had the right candidates.”