County party fundraising down across the board, but Dems still dominate

Continuing the statewide trend of fundraising declines in 2009, county political parties reported a 28% decrease in money raised from four years ago, according to the Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC)

County parties raised $13.7 million last year — $5.2 million less than they raised in 2005, the last year there was a comparable electoral landscape, with an election for governor while all 40 assembly seats were up.

Jeffrey Brindle, the executive director of ELEC, said the totals are down because of a “double whammy” of the bad economy and more restrictive pay-to-play laws.

“Donors generally have become stingier due to the financial pinch of the recession,’’ he said. “Moreover, laws intended to discourage political contributions by government contractors have stung most campaign coffers.”

Brindle qualified that by noting that donors were also circumventing campaign contribution limits to county parties by donating to newly formed PACs.

Democratic county parties raised three times as much as their Republican counterparts, taking in $10.7 million and spending $10.3 million.  Republican county parties raised and spend about $3 million.

The Bergen County Democratic Organization topped the list of fundraising organizations, taking in and spending approximately $1.7 million.  The most cash to a local Republican organization went to the Burlington County Republican Committee, which reported raising $627,887.  Democratic organizations from Camden, Essex, Middlesex, Passaic and Union Counties all raised more. 

County party fundraising down across the board, but Dems still dominate