Spending for the NJ governor’s race is $ 58 million and counts. A lot comes from your taxes.


Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli has so far exceeded Democratic government spending. Phil murphy of more than $ 3 million so far in New Jersey governor’s combative race, according to new figures released by the state’s election watchdog.

Ciattarelli, a former member of the state assembly, spent $ 8.9 million, compared with $ 5.6 million spent by Murphy, who is running for a second term, according to the report of the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.

But Murphy raised $ 13.3 million to $ 10 million on Ciattarelli and has a lot more cash on hand heading into the final month of the Nov. 2 election. Murphy still has $ 7.3 million in his coffers, compared to Ciattarelli’s $ 1.1 million.

One likely reason Murphy is able to save that money: The outgoing governor has received a wave of support from independent committees – outside groups that raise and spend money to support candidates.

So far, these groups have spent $ 13.1 million on the general election, with pro-Murphy groups responsible for around $ 10 million, compared to around $ 500,000 for those supporting Ciattarelli.

Outside groups have spent almost as much as the candidates themselves, who have so far spent $ 14.6 million.

In total, there has so far been almost $ 28 million in spending between candidates and groups outside the general election.

“Once again, the gubernatorial elections are only held in New Jersey and Virginia this year. The Garden State is therefore a major draw for these national political groups, ”said Jeff Brindle, Executive Director of ELEC. “Over the past decade, these and other independent committees have become a major force in federal, state and local campaigns.”

Fundraising and spending among the candidates for the New Jersey governor’s race in 2021.

When that money is added to the money spent before and during the primary elections, candidates have shelled out $ 57.9 million for this year’s race so far. That’s higher than the $ 52.9 million spent at this point in the last Garden State gubernatorial election, in 2017, when Murphy won his first term against Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.

Still, that pales in comparison to the state’s most expensive governorship so far. In 2005, $ 87.8 million was spent when Democrat Jon Corzine defeated Republican Doug Forrester – a race mainly funded by their personal fortune and without any public money. It would have cost $ 123 million in today’s dollars, ELEC said.

Much of the expenses of the candidates this year was funded by taxpayer dollars. Under the New Jersey Matching Fund program, the state provides public funds to applicants who raise a certain amount and agree to limit total spending.

Murphy has received $ 8.8 million in public money so far, while Ciattarelli has received $ 6.3 million.

The highest public money a candidate can receive is $ 10.6 million, and he must agree to limit his general election spending to $ 15.6 million.

Of the outside groups, Garden State Forward, the super-PAC of the New Jersey Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union, spent the most – $ 500,000 to support Murphy.

After that, Our NJ, a super-PAC formed by the Democratic Governors Association, spent $ 3.4 million to support Murphy, a former president of the DGA.

The DGA itself spent $ 1.3 million on Murphy’s behalf.

The Republican Governors Association, meanwhile, spent $ 409,777 to boost Ciattarelli. By comparison, the group spent $ 2.4 million in 2017 to beat Murphy and $ 7.5 to help Chris Christie oust Corzine in 2009.

Fix NJ Now, a pro-Ciattarelli super-PAC, spent $ 71,203.

All opinion polls so far have shown Murphy leading Ciattarelli, most in double digits.

2021 governor race money 2

Overseas spending on the New Jersey governor’s race in 2021.

A third candidate, Green Party candidate Madelyn Hoffman, raised $ 1,874.

There are no figures available for two other third-party candidates, libertarian candidate Gregg Mele and socialist worker candidate Joanne Kulinsky. Hoffman, Mele and Kulinsky each told ELEC they expected to spend less than $ 5,800 on the race.

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Brent Johnson can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @ johnsb01.


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