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County Party Political Fundraising Drops Dramatically

County party committee fundraising has declined significantly from 2009, the last time gubernatorial and legislative candidates both faced reelection. The New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) has issued a report today saying together, Democratic and Republican county organizations raised just under $1 million, a 29 percent decrease from four years before.

“These numbers follow a pattern that began with the introduction of the pay-to-play laws in 2006,” says Jeff Brindle, ELEC Executive Director. “The downward trend in county party receipts paints a stark contrast to the 1990’s and the early part of the previous decade when county organizations were the kingpins of the electoral landscape.”

County parties raised $2.7 million during the first quarter of 2001- nearly triple the current total. Today’s totals do not include all committees. 2001 also was a gubernatorial and legislative election year. While campaign finance is down from 2009, there has been an uptick in combined cash reserves since 2011, which featured a legislative campaign.

With gubernatorial and legislative elections underway, county party committees have amassed a combined cash reserve of nearly $1.5 million, according to the latest quarterly reports filed with ELEC.

Cash totals are larger for Democratic committees, but net worth numbers, which adjust for debts owed to or by the committee, are about even for the two parties.

“While overall fundraising is down over the past several years, county party chairs seem to be making an effort to build up cash reserves before this year’s elections,’’ explains Brindle. “County parties often provide support during statewide elections, and this year is likely to be no exception even though fundraising may be lower than in years past.”

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