N.J. Governor’s Race Spending Hits $58 Million With Month to Go
(Bloomberg) -- Spending on New Jersey’s race for governor has reached $57.9 million, more than the amount spent this far into incumbent Phil Murphy’s first run, state regulators said.
Murphy and Republican candidate Jack Ciattarelli have spent $14.6 million for the general election, while outside groups have contributed $13.1 million, according to reports filed with the state’s Election Law Enforcement Commission.
Combined with earlier spending on the race, the amount tops the $52.9 million spent when Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker and progressive Democrat backed by unions, beat Republican Kim Guadagno in 2017.
New Jersey’s most expensive race for governor was the $87.8 million battle between Democratic Governor Jon Corzine and Republican businessman Doug Forrester in 2005 that was mostly self-financed. That race would cost more than $123 million in today’s dollars, according to the election commission.
Like Corzine, Murphy amassed a fortune as an executive at Goldman and financed most of his first campaign. This year, he is accepting public matching funds, which limits his spending. Murphy has received $8.8 million in public financing so far while Ciattarelli has received $6.3 million.
New Jersey and Virginia have the only governor’s races in the U.S. this year, and Murphy is finance chairman for the Democratic Governors Association. Our NJ, a political committee formed by the DGA, has raised the most among independent groups, according to the election commission. The DGA so far has donated $1 million to Our NJ and $300,000 to a get-out-the-vote group called the Turnout Project.
Our NJ’s biggest contributor is Garden State Forward, which is run by the New Jersey Education Association, the state’s largest teacher union. Garden State Forward gave $2.5 million to Our NJ and $2.5 million to another Murphy-backing PAC called Committee to Build the Economy.
Though Murphy is favored to win November’s election, Ciattarelli, a former assemblyman, has been closing the gap as he blasts New Jersey’s high taxes and the incumbent’s handling of the pandemic. The latest poll, released Sept. 29 by Stockton University, had Murphy ahead by nine percentage points, more than twice the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 points.
Through Oct. 4, Ciattarelli had raised less than Murphy but spent more. Murphy has more than $7 million of cash on hand, while Ciattarelli has $1.2 million.
The Republican Governors Association has spent $409,777 so far on the race. The RGA spent $2.4 million in 2017 trying to defeat Murphy, and $7.5 million in 2009 to help Chris Christie oust Corzine.
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