$14.5 Million Already Expended on Legislative General Election with Battleground Districts Getting Lion’s Share

With the legislative general election moving into full swing, candidates and independent committees
already have spent $14.5 million, with more than two thirds being sunk into five key districts, according to reports filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC).

Based on the latest available reports, candidates have raised $31.8 million, spent $12.3 million and
reported $19.5 million cash in reserve. Independent spending committees so far have disclosed spending $2.3 million. Combining that total with candidate spending, the general election already has cost $14.5 million.

More than two thirds of that spending has occurred so far in five legislative districts that are among the
most competitive in the state. There are 40 legislative districts in New Jersey.

The top five districts already have drawn 58 percent of candidate spending, 94 percent of independent
committee spending and 64 percent of combined spending.

“So-called battleground, or swing, districts typically become the focal point for most spending during
legislative elections,” said Jeff Brindle, ELEC’s Executive Director. “Most incumbents face little real risk of losing because redistricting protects their seats. So they can send money to the more competitive districts.”

“Independent groups both nationally and in New Jersey have tended to concentrate their firepower on
target districts,” he added.

Brindle said independent special interest committees already have spent more than the primary and now
have expended $4.3 million to date.

“They have a long way to go, however, to surpass the record $27.3 million spent on the 2017 legislative
election,” he added.

Democrats hold a 25 to 14 margin with one vacancy in the state Senate. They maintain a 52 to 28 margin
in the state Assembly. Democratic majority status has conferred advantages in funds raised, spent and cash reserves.

Upper house members raised slightly more than Assembly members and had more cash reserves.
Assembly members spent slightly more.

The numbers in this report should be considered preliminary. The analysis is based on legislative
fundraising reports received by October 7, 2021 and reflects campaign finance activity through October 4.

Reports filed by legislative candidates and independent committees are available online on ELEC’s
website at www.elec.nj.gov. A downloadable summary of data from those reports is available in both spreadsheet and PDF formats at www.elec.nj.gov/publicinformation/statistics.htm.
ELEC also can be accessed on Facebook (www.facebook.com/NJElectionLaw) and Twitter
(www.twitter.com/elecnj).

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