ELEC: Driven by Indie Cash, 2013 Total Campaign Spending was Most Ever at $53.3 mill.

An unprecedented wave of independent special interest spending drove the cost of the 2013 legislative general election to $53.3 million, the most ever without adjusting for inflation, according to a new analysis by the Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC). “In the 2013 fall election, at least $10 million was spent outside the direct control of parties and candidates. That’s a staggering five times more than the 2011 total. It is most likely low due to current limits on disclosure,” said Joseph Donohue, ELEC’s Deputy Director and the author of the study.

Table 1 Total Fundraising and Spending in Legislative Elections*

YEAR/RAISED BY LEGISLATORS/SPENT BY LEGISLATORS/BOTH HOUSES?/INDEPENDENT SPENDING/TOTAL SPENDING/ TOTAL SPENDING ADJUSTED FOR INFLATION

2003 $47,911,008 $44,990,255 Yes $ 4,857 $44,995,112 $58,152,514

2005 $25,081,696 $23,713,193 No $ 3,476 $23,716,669 $28,878,354

2007 $50,797,317 $47,231,847 Yes $ 165,000 $47,396,847 $54,360,463

2009 $20,457,342 $18,584,098 No $ 15,999 $18,600,097 $20,617,404

2011 $45,656,674 $44,024,272 Yes $ 1,835,000 $45,859,772 $48,482,847

2013 $46,691,108 $43,446,977 Yes $ 9,890,217** $53,337,194 $54,641,563

Entitled “White Paper No. 26-Legislative Elections 2013- Big Spending, Little Change Plus a History of SelfFinancing by Legislators and Others,” the analysis also found that so-called “outside” groups topped parties and candidates in spending on research and polling and get-out-the-vote. Both were new records. “Before the recent explosion of independent spending, independent groups mainly focused on political advertising. But with the surge in spending, some of those groups are assuming campaign functions traditionally performed by parties and candidates,” Donohue said. The latest white paper also includes a first-ever historical review of self-financed candidacies by legislators and other New Jersey candidates. It found that at least 101 legislative candidates since the 1980s have spent at least $15,000 on their campaigns. The combined outlay- $9.8 million in inflation adjusted dollars. Among the top 50 selffunders identified by the analysis, 18 were legislative candidates (a few also ran for other offices).

“While some of the most dramatic examples of self-financing have involved gubernatorial elections, most candidates for governor rely on the state’s public financing matching funds along with checks from private contributors,” Donohue said. “In other elections where public financing isn’t available, self-financing is more common. Those include Congressional and legislative campaigns.” The ten candidates listed below spent the most solely on legislative campaigns.

Table 2 Top 10 Self-Funding Legislative Candidates

CANDIDATE/AMOUNT/OFFICES HELD/CAMPAIGNS WITH SELF-FUNDING

MacInnes, Gordon $ 846,009 Assemblyman, Senator 4

Manzo, Louis $ 694,659 Assemblyman 3

Mancuso, Peter $ 520,838 Not elected 2

Shain, Joel $ 398,832 Not elected 1

MacInnes, Blair $ 364,462 Not elected 1

Munoz, Eric $ 336,434 Assemblyman 4

Genovese, Gina $ 269,527 Not elected 1

Oroho, Steven $ 244,868 Senator 1

Honig, Barry $ 233,282 Not elected 1

Casha, Lawrence $ 231,106 Not elected 1

No candidate spent more of their personal funds on a New Jersey election than former Governor and US Senator Jon Corzine. He sank $167 million (in 2015 dollars) of his own money into his three campaigns.

Table 3 Top 10 Elections Involving Self-Funding by New Jersey Candidates

CANDIDATE/YEAR/OFFICE/AMOUNT/INFLATION ADJUSTED

1 Corzine, Jon 2000 US Senate $60,198,967 $83,311,920

2 Forbes, Steve 1996 President $37,394,000 $56,878,443

3 Forbes, Steve 2000 President $38,675,038 $53,596,595

4 Corzine, Jon 2005 Governor $43,135,570 $52,711,092

5 Forrester, Doug 2005 Governor $29,927,189 $36,570,627

6 Corzine, Jon 2009 Governor $27,460,000 $30,546,893

7 Lautenberg, Frank 1982 US Senate $ 5,100,000 $12,611,956

8 Forrester, Doug 2002 US Senate $ 7,485,000 $ 9,929,545

9 MacArthur, Tom 2014 House $ 5,000,000 $ 5,115,021

10 Sullivan, Joseph “Bo” 1981 Governor $ 1,842,000 $ 4,836,091

In reviewing the 2013 legislative campaign, there were signs that online advertising is on the rise and may have topped $1.1 million. “Internet advertising is soaring in national campaigns and we are beginning to see the impact in New Jersey,” said Donohue. All 26 white papers are available on ELEC’s website at http://www.elec.state.nj.us/aboutelec/whitepapers.htm.

ELEC: Driven by Indie Cash, 2013 Total Campaign Spending was Most Ever at $53.3 mill.