ELEC: County Party Committees have $1.7 Million in Cash Reserves

Ocean County Republican Chairman George Gilmore

Ocean County Republican Chairman George Gilmore

Fundraising by county party officials is lagging behind the pace of three previous election years despite state assembly and county elections this fall, according to the latest reports filed with the Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC).

County parties combined have raised just under $2.6 million during the first six months of 2015. That total is lower than comparable sums for 2009, 2011, and 2013, which were years that also featured statewide elections.

Despite the sluggish fundraising, the 42 county party committees reported a combined total of $1.7 million in cash reserves. That is less than in 2009, but more than in 2011 or 2013. Candidates and parties always prefer to have as much cash as possible heading into an election.

Jeff Brindle, ELEC’s Executive Director, said without further legislative reforms recommended by ELEC, party committees could be treading water indefinitely.

“State and county parties have faced increased financial difficulty as more special interests in recent years have spent their money independently instead of sending checks to the parties,” he said. “Party committees also have been stung by tight limits on public contractor contributions and contribution limits that have not been raised for several years to offset inflation. ELEC reforms could offset these trends.”

Under those recommended legislative changes, which have bipartisan ELEC support, state pay-to-play laws would be streamlined into a single state law, a key loophole would be eliminated, and the contribution limit for contractors would be raised from $300 to $1,000.

ELEC has also recommended that state lawmakers expand disclosure rules so special interest groups who spend independently are required to publicly report their contributions and expenditures just like candidates and parties. Also, the Commission has recommended that all contribution limits be adjusted higher to offset inflation.

Comparing performance by party, Democrats raised and spent more money than Republicans during the first six months of the year, and also reported larger cash-on-hand.

Both Democrats and Republicans raised slightly less money than they did four years ago. Democrats spent slightly more during the first six months of the year compared to 2011, while Republicans spent less. Both reported an increase in cash reserves though Republicans showed the largest percentage gain.

COUNTY-RAISED-SPENT-CASH ON HAND-NET Worth: DEMOCRATS

Atlantic $ 16,532 $ 12,729 $ 38,391 $ 38,391

Bergen $ 168,465 $ 163,012 $ 10,582 $ 87,585

Burlington $ 20,805 $ 10,395 $ 10,837 $ (75,130)

Camden $ 146,683 $ 188,415 $ 86,075 $ 86,075

Cape May $ 5,045 $ 710 $ 8,526 $ 8,526

Cumberland $ 18,300 $ 31,963 $ 3,061 $ 3,061

Essex $ 180,695 $ 171,135 $ 60,928 $ 60,928

Gloucester $ 78,973 $ 95,219 $ 67,326 $ 39,319

Hudson $ 230,712 $ 260,749 $ 67,890 $ (91,162)

Hunterdon $ 4,210 $ 6,041 $ 16,987 $ 16,987

Mercer $ 966 $ 15,155 $ 48,606 $ 48,606

Middlesex $ 100,414 $ 126,940 $ 281 $ 281

Monmouth $ 126,452 $ 88,329 $ 26,204 $ 26,204

Morris $ 25,205 $ 19,995 $ 11,925 $ 11,925

Ocean $ 23,329 $ 22,588 $ 7,514 $ 23,681

Passaic $ 170,639 $ 90,516 $ 397,151 $ 397,151

Salem $ 600 $ 3,513 $ 9,464 $ 9,464

Somerset** $ 14,895 $ 13,252 $ 2,210 $ 2,210

Sussex $ 6,067 $ 5,700 $ 3,664 $ 3,664

Union $ 72,954 $ 109,567 $ 59,717 $ 51,163

Warren NA NA NA NA

DEMOCRATS-TOTAL $1,415,710 $1,442,714 $ 934,320 $ 745,908

 

COUNTY-RAISED-SPENT-CASH ON HAND-NET Worth: REPUBLICANS

Alantic $ 39,912 $ 80,320 $ 2,935 $ 2,935

Bergen $ 120,432 $ 89,007 $ 53,500 $ 53,500

Burlington $ 368,671 $ 325,071 $ 53,753 $ 850,528

Camden $ 10,003 $ 5,814 $ 23,503 $ 23,503

Cape May $ 75,902 $ 31,765 $ 52,705 $ 52,705

Cumberland $ 12,921 $ 10,636 $ 23,852 $ 23,852

Essex $ 13,000 $ 11,118 $ 4,155 $ 4,155

Gloucester $ 15,735 $ 20,657 $ 6,829 $ 6,829

Hudson*

Hunterdon $ 20,345 $ 22,748 $ 20,359 $ 20,359

Mercer $ 9,067 $ 6,942 $ 5,235 $ 5,235

Middlesex $ 22,733 $ 6,985 $ 39,064 $ 39,064

Monmouth $ 60,478 $ 60,279 $ 25,080 $ 20,526

Morris $ 75,345 $ 44,587 $ 45,465 $ 45,403

Ocean $ 55,629 $ 24,104 $ 34,780 $ 34,780

Passaic $ 34,394 $ 34,962 $ 1,821 $ 1,821

Salem $ 25,210 $ 38,096 $ 19,580 $ 19,580

Somerset $ 191,513 $ 67,564 $ 321,550 $ 321,277

Sussex $ 6,855 $ 8,844 $ 2,590 $ 2,590

Union $ 19,713 $ 22,193 $ 32,454 $ 32,454

Warren $ 4,150 $ 11,082 $ 2,936 $ 2,936

REPUBLICANS-TOTAL $1,182,008 $ 922,774 $ 772,145 $1,564,030

* Does not expect to spend more than $5,500 this year.

ELEC: County Party Committees have $1.7 Million in Cash Reserves