This post was originally published on this site

Top Democratic fundraising groups have so far out-raised their Republican counterparts more than 3 to 1 in New Jersey’s big races for governor and state Legislature this year, with the haul between both parties the highest its been in more than a decade, new figures show.

The state’s “Big Six” committees — representing the two major state parties and both the Democratic and Republican leaderships in the state Senate and Assembly — raised more than $2.27 million in the first quarter of the year, according to numbers released Tuesday by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.

That’s the most since before at least 2009, according to ELEC.

It comes as the governor’s office — with Democratic incumbent Phil Murphy running for re-election —and all 120 seats in the Democratic-controlled state Legislature are on the ballot this fall.

The three Democratic committees have raised about $1.77 million, while Republicans have brought in about $499,300. For Democrats, that’s a 122% increase from 2017, the last year with both gubernatorial and legislative elections on the ticket. For Republicans, it’s an 81% increase.

These totals do not include money raised by outside independent committees. Nor do they include fundraising from individual candidates.

Jeff Brindle, ELEC’s Executive Director, said the high total is in large part because of the high-stakes elections.

“Another factor is that the state’s political leaders, like everyone else, appear to be adjusting to the COVID-19 pandemic, which shut down several fund-raisers last year at this time,” Brindle said. “Fundraising for the first three months of 2021 is nearly triple the amount raised for the same period in 2020.”

Brindle said the Big Six committees are important because they “are more accountable and transparent than so-called ‘outside’ independent spenders that are growing more dominant.”

“We will continue to work with lawmakers to try to enact new laws that will hopefully redirect more funds back into party coffers,” he added.

Brindle also noted these are just first-quarter numbers. Annual Big Six totals have been in steady decline since peaking in 2001.

The full reports are available here.

New Jersey’s primary election is June 8. The general election is Nov. 2.

Our journalism needs your support. Please subscribe today to NJ.com

Brent Johnson may be reached at bjohnson@njadvancemedia.com.