With both legislative houses facing reelection this year, the “Big Six” fund-raising committees- the two state political parties and four legislative leadership committees- have entered 2023 with larger-than usual cash reserves, according to year-end reports filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC).
The two parties combined have $2.8 million stockpiled for the coming showdown- the largest in a decade and 107 percent above average.
The three Democratic committees jointly reported $2.2 million- the highest in a decade and 175 percent above the party average. Republican counterparts reported $624,898 in the bank- 11 percent above average and the highest since 2016.
Jeff Brindle, ELEC’s Executive Director, said the relatively large cash totals could reflect the importance of this year’s legislative elections.
Republicans have not controlled both legislative houses since 2001. But during the past two legislative elections, Democrats have lost two seats in the Senate and eight seats in the Assembly.
Democrats still hold a 24-to-16 margin in the state Senate and a 46-to-34 margin in the state Assembly.
“Money isn’t everything. But having more money means you can afford more on media buys, direct mail, get-out-the-vote and other campaign purposes,” Brindle said.
“Naturally, the majority wants to retain control while the minority wants to win it back. Both parties this year have an incentive to stash away as much cash as possible.”
Compared to four years ago, Democratic fundraising and spending totals are down though cash reserves are higher. Republican fundraising is up, spending is down while cash reserves are plumper.
Big Six fund-raising and spending tends to be lower in federal election years than state election years. Totals for 2022 followed this trend.
State parties and legislative leadership committees are required to report their financial activity to the Commission on a quarterly basis. The reports are available on ELEC’s website at www.elec.state.nj.us. ELEC also can be accessed on Facebook (www.facebook.com/NJElectionLaw) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/elecnj).