A political organization pouring money into next week's Assembly election to help Democrats has spent about $4 million, up from $2 million earlier this month, according to the latest state figures released Thursday.

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The Election Law Enforcement Commission data is the last comprehensive snapshot of campaign spending before Tuesday's election, and it shows outside spending has reached its highest level ever in a statewide race, accounting for 42 percent of expenditures, according to the commission. That's compared with 19 percent in 2013.

General Majority PAC has spent $3.9 million in the campaign, so far, with $3.5 million coming from Garden State Forward, a group affiliated with state's largest teachers union, the New Jersey Education Association.

The state data comes out as a new analysis released Thursday by the Center for Public Integrity shows General Majority PAC has spent $2.6 million, mostly in the Philadelphia media market, on broadcast TV ads. That is up from $2 million reported last week.

The analysis looked at advertising on broadcast television from 210 media markets around the country based on data from Kantar Media/CMAG, a media tracking firm offering widely accepted estimates of the money spent to air each spot.

The figures cover ads aired between Jan. 1, 2014, and Oct. 26, but represent only part of the money spent on political advertising. Figures do not include ads for radio, online, direct mail or TV ads that aired on local cable systems. The estimates also do not include the cost of making the ads.

Election officials say the PAC is likely to be the largest outside spender this year.

Edward Richardson, executive director of the NJEA, told The Associated Press that the organization is helping candidates who oppose Gov. Chris Christie's decision not to fund the state's pension according to a 2011 law worked out with Democrats and backed by unions at the time.

In the 1st District, Democratic incumbent Bob Andrzejczak and running mate Bruce Land are taking on Republican incumbent Sam Fiocchi and Jim Sauro. In the Atlantic City-based 2nd District, Democratic incumbent Vince Mazzeo and Colin Bell are competing against Republican incumbent Chris Brown and Will Pauls.

A message seeking comment from General Majority PAC was not immediately returned.

The state election figures show Democrats besting Republicans in the fundraising arena.

Democrats raised $12.3 million and spent $8.9 million through Oct.23.  Republicans hauled in $5.2 million and spent $3.2 million.

Most spending is in southern New Jersey's 1st and 2nd districts and in northern New Jersey's 38th district.


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