Newly released data show New Jersey's legislative and state political committees spent $8.7 million during the 2015 election, down 41 percent compared with the previous state election cycle in 2013.

Philip Lange, ThinkStock

The Election Law Enforcement Commission said Wednesday that the six political committees representing Democratic and Republican state and legislative parties ended the year spending 41 percent less than in 2013, when the governor was atop the ticket.

The commission says one reason for the downturn happened because 2015's election had only the Assembly at the top of the ticket, compared with 2013 when sending reached $14.7 million.

Despite a downturn in spending among the parties, special interest groups poured millions into the 2015 election.

State data show groups spent $10.7 million in 2015 mostly to help Democrats.

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