Legislative candidates are arming themselves for a big fight come November. They have already raised $12.2 million for the campaign, which will determine who will control the state legislature under the newly allocated district seats.
Democrats have double the amount of cash on hand than their GOP counterparts:$8.2 million compared with $3.9 million, according to reports filed by candidates with the state Election Law Enforcement Commission.
The amounts are only slightly above 2007's $11.4 million, when the Democrats again had the advantage. ELEC attributes the relatively flat increase in this pivotal year to new pay-to-play laws and a weakened economy.
The legislator with the most cash in the bank is state Senator Richard J. Codey (D-Essex), with $1.152 million. Codey’s bankroll should come as no surprise, since he is being forced to compete in a somewhat more Republican district than in the past. Second place for cash on hand goes to state Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester), with $951,431.
The only Republican with a top 10 cash stash is state Senator Thomas H. Kean, Jr. with $319,127.
Although the top 10 list of cash on hand does include some of the biggest fundraisers, it does not include all of them. Cumulatively, Codey again gets the nod with $2 million raised, although he has already spent $925,000. Sweeney has raised $1.465 million. State Senator Paul A. Sarlo (D-Bergen), who is third on the list, has raised $1.16 million but has only $580,000 left in the bank. The fourth-place fundraiser state Senator Ray Lesniak (D-Union) has raised $937,424 but has spent all but $20,000 of it.