Election showdowns in just two legislative districts cost a combined $16.3 million, nearly one of three
dollars spent on this year’s general election, according to the latest reports filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC).
“Spending in the Eighth Legislative District topped $8.5 million, third all time when adjusting for
inflation,’’ said Jeff Brindle, ELEC’s Executive Director. “Outlays in the Second Legislative District reached $7.7 million, making it the fifth most expensive ever. It also is the first time two legislative races have topped $6 million during one election.”
Spending in both districts probably was even higher because not all independent groups disclosed where
they spent their money. Another first occurred as the Eighth Legislative District featured the state’s most
expensive race though it has been in the top five twice since 2001.
The Second Legislative District has hosted the top race three times since 2001 and ranked in the top five
“One of five candidate dollars, two-thirds of funds spent by independent groups and a third of overall
spending were consumed by the two districts alone,’’ Brindle said. “Among the state’s 40 legislative districts, the top ten most expensive showdowns drew 68 percent of total candidate spending, 71 percent of independent spending and 69 percent of overall spending.”
Overall, the 2021 legislative general election cost $49.2 million, including $35.6 million spent by
candidates and $13.5 million shelled out by independent special interest groups.
While independent spending reached its third highest level in a legislative general election, overall
spending ranked seventh dating back to 2001 when factoring in inflation.
American Democratic Majority, a federal 527 political organization run by South Jersey Democrats, was
the biggest spender in the election, topping $5.7 million for both the primary and general election. Most of its spending ($4 million) went to the Eighth Legislative District.
Garden State Forward, a federal 527 political organization run by the New Jersey Education
Association, the state’s largest union, spent $3.8 million. Most of its funds ($3.5 million) were funneled into the Second Legislative District.