New Jerseyans Get Priced Out Of Politics [AUDIO]
Forget about the skeletons in your closet being exposed if you run for office because you can't afford to run for office in New Jersey anyway. The average person has been priced out of politics in the Garden State.
So, you as a citizen want to run for Governor? Well, you must raise $380,000 to qualify for public financing according to new guidelines presented to the state's Election Law Enforcement Commission.
The commission must approve changes in contribution limits, reporting thresholds and public financing for gubernatorial candidates -- and reporting thresholds for those seeking other offices - every four years. They are adjusted for inflation.
Candidates in New Jersey's 2013 gubernatorial race could get up to $11.7 million in public matching funds if they agree to spend less than $17.8 million on their campaign. Contribution limits for non-gubernatorial candidates would increase under the guidelines. The Legislature must approve those changes.
"We adjust for inflation...and if we're talking about the gubernatorial campaign, contribution limits for gubernatorial candidates would increase to $3,800" said Jeff Brindle, the commission's executive director.
"The purpose is to eliminate undue influence from the process and to allow candidates of limited means to run for office and to run effective campaigns," said Brindle.
He cites the 2009 gubernatorial election as historic in the state.
"It was the first time a publicly financed candidate beat a self-financed one. Chris Christie defeated Jon Corzine spending just $11.9 million to the Democrat's $27 million."
Monmouth University Poll Director Patrick Murray says New Jersey is an expensive state to start a campaign because of its location between Philadelphia and New York City.
"Those are the two most expensive media markets in the country and often times candidates are spending a lot of money on advertisements in these states where people aren't even casting votes."
Murray says it's not pocket change for the average New Jerseyan to run for public office.
"Rising through the ranks and running for statewide office means you have to have rich friends...and a lot of them. This pretty much prices out anyone who doesn't have a trust fund attached to them."
The panel has until December to adopt the changes.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)