N.J. GOP way ahead on fund-raising

Posted: July 19, 2011

TRENTON - New Jersey Republicans have continued to capitalize on Gov. Christie's popularity, raising five times as much as Democrats in the second quarter of the year.

The Republicans said they raised nearly $1 million in the second quarter - outpacing their first-quarter $740,000 total - as the parties gear up for November, when the entire Legislature is up for election.

Meanwhile, the Democrats said they raised exactly the same this quarter - $189,000 - as they had in the previous quarter.

Democrats have long dominated fund-raising in the Garden State, which traditionally leans left. They were also helped heavily by former multimillionaire Gov. Jon S. Corzine, who has stopped giving to the state party.

John Wisniewski, the state Democratic Party's chairman, said he expected to his part to be outpaced on fund-raising because whichever party has a governor in office has an advantage.

"With Christie in the governor's office, we knew the Republicans were going to put up bigger numbers than they ever have in the past," Wisniewski said. "Democrats are focused on what we do best, growing our base and bringing our message to front doors, union halls, and local organizations all across New Jersey."

State GOP chairman Sam Raia said the increased support for his party "is directly related to Gov. Christie and Republican legislators' smart and responsible approach" to governing.

"The robust financial backing will allow the NJGOP to provide the critical resources and support necessary to compete in races across New Jersey, as we fight to elect more reform-minded Republicans in November," he said in an e-mailed statement.

During the first quarter of 2007 - the last time the entire Legislature was up for election - Republicans raised $520,000 to Democrats' $954,000.

Raia said the latest donations came from more than 1,800 people, and more than 80 percent contributed $100 or less. Going into the fall election, the Republican Committee said, it has $1.3 million on cash available to spend.

Democrats did not provide those numbers Monday.

A more complete report was expected to be released by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.

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