NJ Politics Digest: The NJEA’s Costly War With Sweeney

Steve Sweeney. Kevin B. Sanders for Observer

The New Jersey Education Association’s battle with Senate President Steve Sweeney is on pace to be the most expensive legislative race in state history, and the investment may be paying off for the powerful teacher’s union, according to a Republican internal poll.

Candidates and independent groups had spent $9.5 million on the Senate race in Sweeney’s district as of Oct. 6, a month before the election. By the time it’s all said and done, nearly $20 million could be poured into the race, according to the state Election Law Enforcement Commission. The NJEA has spent $4 million so far to take out Sweeney, the state’s top elected Democrat.

The money could be worth it for the union, as the race between Sweeney and Republican Fran Grenier is tightening, according to an internal poll taken by Republicans. Sweeney leads the race by 6 points after having an 18-point advantage in September, the poll said. (A polling memo provided by a pro-Sweeney super PAC showed the Senate president up by 12 points, but the poll itself was not provided.)

Quote of the Day: “We could be seeing first $20 million legislative race. That used to be the cost of a gubernatorial race.” — Joseph Donohue, deputy executive director of the state Election Law Enforcement Commission, on the Senate race between Sweeney and Grenier.

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NJ Politics Digest: The NJEA’s Costly War With Sweeney