With three weeks to go until election day GOP committees have $1.5 million more on hand

With three weeks to go until election day, the three major Republican committees have almost $1.5 million more on hand than their Democratic counterparts, owing to nearly two to one GOP fundraising advantage during the last quarter.

According to newly released figures from the Election Law Enforcement Commission, the three major Democratic fundraising committees  enter the home stretch of the election season with $985,426 on hand against $2.442 million for the Republican committees.

The overall fundraising advantage for the third quarter goes to the GOP, led by a $1.4 million haul by the Republican State Committee.  Overall, the party raised $2.04 million in the quarter versus $1.18 million for the Democrats.

Year to date, the GOP committes have raised more than $4.4 million against a total take of $2.4 million for the Democrats.

Despite the lofty third-quarter numbers for the GOP, the effects of pay to play laws and a poor economy continue to be felt.  For the year, fundraising is down 26 percent from the same period in 2007, the last time all 120 seats in the Legislature were up for grabs.

Spending, which topped $5 million by both parties combined so far this year, is down 25 percent from four years ago.  

“The latest reports from ‘Big Six’ committees confirm trends we’ve seen recently,’’ said Jeff Brindle, ELEC’s Executive Director. “There is no better barometer of the impact of pay-to-play on fundraising than these statistics showing ‘Big Six’ receipts down by 26 percent.  The state party committees and legislative leadership committees are all directly subject to pay-to-play restrictions and as such their fundraising is being inhibited.”

The growth in the Republican war chest coincides with the rise in national popularity of Gov. Chris Christie, who flirted briefly with a presidential run at the same time he was holding fundraisers on behalf of state Republicans.  GOP fundraising is up 84 percent over 2007, while Democrats have endured a 64 percent drop.

The plummeting war chest of the Democrats also coincides with the departure of former Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, who spent millions during his tenure seeding Democrats with campaign cash. With three weeks to go until election day GOP committees have $1.5 million more on hand