The three major GOP fundraising arms have $1.4 million on hand for the coming election season, according to the latest filings from the Election Law Enforcement Commission.
Their counterparts on the Democratic side have squirreled away just over $1 million for their election effort as they seek to maintain control of the Legislature and take over the governor’s chair.
The Senate Republican Majority PAC holds the highest total at $675,000 as the GOP vies to pick up seats in the Senate. The Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee is next with $534,000 on hand for the coming legislative push.
But while totals are up over last year at this time, the $2.5 million is the lowest total of any gubernatorial year since 2001, said ELEC Executive Director Jeff Brindle.
“Especially when compared to the earlier part of the last decade, the coffers of the state’s top party fundraising committees are way down,’’ said Brindle.
The total for the first quarter of 2013 is less than 25 percent of the $11.8 million both parties had on hand heading into the 2001 gubernatorial contest and just over 60 percent of the $4.1 million the parties amassed in the first quarter of 2005.
In 2009, the so-called “Big Six” had $2.8 million on hand after the first quarter of the year.
“This is due to several trends, including the advent of tight contribution limits for public contractors in the middle of the last decade, the 2008 recession, and a recent surge in spending by independent groups that may be draining funds away from party committees,’’ Brindle said.
Democrats hold both houses of the Legislature, but the GOP is hoping that Gov. Chris Christie’s coattails can help them pick up the four seats necessary to share control of the Senate.
For their part, Democrats are confident in their hold and in the legislative map redrawn two years ago. That map favors Democratic control and allows for only a small handful of competitive districts.