Incumbent Democrats in Legislative District 38 Assemblyman Tim Eustace and Assemblyman Joseph A. Lagana showed significant fundraising advantages through the primary over Republican challengers Anthony Cappola and Mark DiPisa, a portent perhaps of their general election capacities.
Local labor unions made donations to Eustace, including $8,200 from the local chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), $8,200 from the Communications Workers Association (CWA Local 1037) and $8,200 from the NJ Laborers PAC. Additionally, Lagana has received donations from SEIU as well as plumbers and carpenters unions.
Both Eustace and Lagana have also received donations from Democratic leaders like Senator Bob Gordon, the boss in LD38; Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32); and South Jersey’s Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, among others, including former Speaker Joe Roberts of South Jersey.
Meanwhile, Republican challenger Cappola has received donations only from Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-21) and the Committee to Elect Cappola. DiPisa has received donations from the Committee to Elect DiPisa.
According to Bramnick the disparity in fundraising between the Democrats and Republicans is not an insurmountable issue and he does not believe it will not have a significant impact on the outcome of the vote in LD 38.
“I can guarantee that we will be competitive in District 38,” he said. “We will never be able to meet the Democrats dollar for dollar but I will make sure that our candidates have sufficient resources.”
According to Bramnick, Cappola and DiPisa will continue to receive funding from Bramnick for Assembly and the Assembly Republican Victory where funds are “over $1 million,” if needed.
According to Gordon—who threw Eustace and Lagana $8,200 apiece—though the LD 38 Democrats have received a significant chunk of funding from labor unions and Democratic leadership, the connections will not be an issue.
“Historically if you were to analyze the sources of fundraising for Democrats in the state I would guess that the number one category would be labor unions,” Gordon said. “They are a natural constituency of the Democratic Party and have been for a long time. They are hardworking middle class people who represent the core constituency of Democrats.”
For Bramnick, the election will come down to which candidates can make the state more affordable for voters.
“I think the voters will realize which party will make the necessary reforms to make this state more affordable,” he said. “In order to make this state more affordable we are going to have to reform government. I highly doubt the incumbent Democrats are going to make any real changes after 13 years in Trenton.”