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Interactive Map: Tracking the Gubernatorial Campaign Contributions

Record amounts are being spent on this year’s race for the governor’s mansion. Here’s a way to see who’s being the most generous to which candidate

Contributions to Gubernatorial Candidates
For the candidate with more money by zip code, the amount received.
Guadagno $5K+ Guadagno $1-5K Neither Murphy $1-7K Murphy $7K+
Note: To find a zip code or town, zoom in and move the map or use the magnifying glass to search by the zip code or town name (include NJ for a town).
Source: NJ Spotlight analysis of NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission data.

Democrat Phil Murphy retains a huge fundraising lead over Republican Kim Guadagno, has maxed out his public matching funds, and entered the New Jersey gubernatorial campaign’s last week with five times more money to spend on advertising and other expenses.

A large warchest is considered crucial to winning a statewide race in New Jersey because candidates need to advertise in both the New York and Philadelphia markets, among the most expensive in the nation, to reach potential voters across a state that lacks its own major television station. The campaigns have also been taking advantage of more recent advances, including direct emails and advertising on local news websites and in smartphone apps, as a less costly way to get their messages out.

According to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, candidates and independent committees had raised $73.2 million and spent $70 million on the election through October 24, including the primary and pre-primary periods. About 70 percent of total spending was done directly by candidates, with the rest done by six independent committees — five of them working to support Murphy.

Murphy’s millions

A former Wall Street executive and ambassador to Germany, Murphy had raised $13.3 million toward the general election, according to reports filed 11 days before the election. That includes public funds matched on a $2-for-$1 basis. On Wednesday, he received the last of the matching public funds he can get, having received $9.3 million in total. His last report shows Murphy had spent $9.8 million and still had nearly $3.5 million to spend. The matching-funds law requires him to limit his total outlay on the general election to $13.8 million with a few exceptions.

Lt. Gov. Guadagno, meanwhile, had raised $3.9 million toward the general election and spent $3.3 million, less than Murphy still had on hand. On Wednesday, she qualified for additional matching funds and had received a total of $3.3 million, a little more than a third of the maximum. She reported having $632,000 in the bank as of October 24.

In the roughly three weeks between their last general election filings, Murphy bested Guadagno both in fundraising, he brought in $3 million to her $900,000 , and in spending, he spent $5 million to her $1.3 million.

Guadagno gets help

Guadagno is getting some help from the Republican Governors Association, which spent almost $2 million in support of her candidacy through October 24. However, the five groups backing Murphy have more than compensated for that, spending a whopping $8.6 million. Murphy’s biggest backer is the Committee to Build the Economy, set up specifically to back his candidacy, which had spent more than $6 million on his behalf. One New Jersey, the Democratic Governors Association’s committee working to turn the governorship blue here, had spent $2.2 million. Murphy’s other backers are New Start NJ, an organization he founded, Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey. and New Jersey Working Families, which includes labor, community, environment, and faith-based organizations.

Jeff Brindle, ELEC’s Executive Director, said that because New Jersey is one of only two states electing a governor this year, it has attracted “significant spending” from both major parties’ governors associations and other groups.

“In the past three weeks alone, reported spending by independent groups soared from $2.6 million to $10.6 million,” he said. “The heavy bombardment by independent groups has continued a trend that began on a large scale in New Jersey during the 2009 gubernatorial election. This type of spending is now a fixture in both gubernatorial and legislative campaigns.”

An analysis of contributions specifically to the two major party candidates for both the primary and general elections shows donors more generous to Murphy throughout the state. Three quarters of New Jersey ZIP codes where people made campaign contributions gave more to the Democrat. Guadagno’s greatest concentration of financial support was from Ocean County stretching into eastern Burlington.

Murphy’s own Red Bank ZIP code was by far the most generous, registering $16.6 million in contributions, most of them attributable to his largely self-financed primary campaign. Six other areas also gave him more than $100,000 apiece: 07760 in Rumson and Sea Bright, Newark’s 07102, Hoboken’s 07030, Morristown’s 07960, Montclair’s 07042. and 07078 in Short Hills. Most generous to Guadagno was her home ZIP of 07750 in Monmouth Beach, which gave $95,350, more than a quarter of which came from the candidate and her family. She got $80,550 from Toms River’s 08753 and $45,050 from 07417 in Franklin Lakes.

Both candidates got money from out of state, with Murphy out-fundraising his opponent beyond the New Jersey borders, too.

ELEC data shows that nearly a third of the contributions to Murphy’s general election campaign came from out of state. The lion’s share of that came from New York, which provided some $756,000. Murphy spent much of his career in New York City. He also got $145,000 from Pennsylvania and $104,000 from California.

Almost a quarter of Guadagno’s contributions came from outside New Jersey. She got $77,000 from New Yorkers, $56,000 from Pennsylvanians, and $50,000 from Floridians.

There was only one area that contributed more money to a candidate other than Murphy or Guadagno. Seth Kaper-Dale, the Green Party candidate, won Highland Park’s 08904, receiving $2,625 in donations from there. Of the five independents running, he has spent the most — $104,381. Gina Genovese, who is largely self-financing, has spent $45,269, followed by Libertarian Peter Rohrman, with $6,142 in spending. Vincent Ross filed paperwork stating he would not spend more than $5,100, while Matthew Riccardi of the Constitution Party had not filed a report.

While the reports showing campaign financial activity through October 24 are the last comprehensive reports before the election, candidates and committees are required to file reports within 48 hours of any campaign activity. So far, 64 committees advocating for races statewide, some of which include the gubernatorial campaign, have done so. Those reports can be found on ELEC’s website.

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