By Bill Mooney
The business of seeking public office remains expensive.
The state Democratic and Republican parties and the four legislative leadership committees raised a total of $6.2 million and spent approximately $5.9 million, according to the fourth-quarter reports filed with the state Election Law Enforcement Commission.
The Democrats, who control both houses of the Legislature, brought in and spent more than their Republican counterparts, according to ELEC. The state agency reported that the GOP has approximately three times more money in hand than the Democrats.
All of the state’s 120 legislative seats face elections this fall.
ELEC reported that Republicans, in the form of the state committee and the Senate and Assembly committees, raised $2.9 million as of Dec. 31, and spent $2.6 million, while the Democrats’ similar committees took in $3.24 million and spent $3.28 million as of the end of the year.
According to ELEC, the reports filed as of Jan. 18 show that in general, fundraising by the so-called “big six” committees was down when compared to four years ago.
Gross receipts were down about 14 percent from 2006, spending rose 13 percent, and combined net worth was down 70 percent, ELEC stated.
In the wake of the committees’ reports for 2010, ELEC Executive Director Jeff Brindle said that the so-called “pay-to-play” laws may have contributed to the decline in fundraising last year. “Many contractors simply have stopped making political donations in New Jersey,” he said. “Others can make only small donations.”
He said the recession also may have been a factor in the decline.
The reports are available on ELEC’s web site at http://www.elec.state.nj.us