Interactive Map: Which NJ Pols Have the Most Cash on Hand?

The amount of cash on hand as of June 30 for the candidate with more money by district. To find out more campaign finance and voter registration information for each district, click on the district on the map.

Source: Federal Election Commission

Of New Jersey’s candidates for the House, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6th) has the fullest pockets, while his opponent, Tea Party favorite Anna Little, is deepest in debt.

In all, the major party candidates for 12 seats had $11.6 million to spend as of June 30 to try to get elected, according to data filed with the Federal Election Commission. That totals slightly less than $1 million per seat, or about $500,000 per candidate for seats that are mostly considered locks for the incumbent.

But it’s a pittance compared with the $12.3 million U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez and his Republican challenger state Sen. Joseph Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) had in the bank to support their battle for just one seat.

Both those amounts are far more than the national average of $325,000 per candidate running for Congress, although some independent candidates, who typically spend very little, are included in that count. Two New Jersey candidates reported some campaign fundraising: Charles Lukens in the 2nd District had $1,386 on hand and Kenneth Kaplan, the Libertarian running for Senate, reported $800.

Dividing the nearly $24 million congressional candidates had in the bank June 30 by all 72 candidates yields an average of about $332,000, just slightly higher than the national average.
Those amounts are bound to increase, possibly by a lot, when the campaigns submit their reports for the third quarter, due October 15.

Through the second quarter of 2012, Pallone reported having $3.4 million cash on hand, the most for any New Jersey House candidate and far more than Kyrillos’ nearly $2 million to challenge Menendez.
The Senate incumbent had a whopping $10.3 million in the bank. Both men have begun spending that money on television advertising in the expensive New York and Philadelphia markets.

Little, on the other hand, reported -$11,321 on hand, putting her at a distinct monetary disadvantage in a district that already leans blue: 35 percent of those registered are Democrats, while only 13 are Republicans, with the rest unaffiliated or in a third party. Pallone, in his 12th term in Congress, defeated Little by more than 10 percentage points — 54-to-43-percent two years ago.

Little is not the only New Jersey candidate whose cash on hand was in the red. Donald M. Payne Jr., the Newark City Council president and Essex County freeholder, showed a debt of $8,421 following his primary battle to win the 10th District seat held by his father, Donald Sr., until his death last March.

Payne Jr. is expected to have no trouble defeating Republican Brian Keleman, who has not filed a report with the FEC, in the Newark-centered district where only about 5 percent of voters are registered Republicans.

Two other New Jersey candidates — Adam Gussen, Democrat running in the 5th, and Maria Karczewski, Republican in the 8th — reported no fundraising activity. Gussen’s opponent, GOP Rep. Scott Garrett, had the most money on hand of any Republican incumbent — $2.1 million.

Incumbents had a 10-to-1 advantage over challengers monetarily, with more than $10.5 million in the bank. The only district where an opponent’s cash on hand exceeded that of the incumbent was in the 7th District, where state Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula (D-Middlesex) had about $50,000 more than Republican Rep. Leonard Lance. Lance had raised nearly $1 million, more than double what Chivukula had, but he also spent about three quarters of that fending off a primary challenge from David Larsen.

Lance reported $385,000 in the bank, compared to Chivukula’s $434,000, in a red district that has nonetheless drawn the interest of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

The general election is costing a huge amount of money. According to a report released earlier this week by the FEC, all candidates for Congress and the presidency, and the political parties and political action committees, had taken in more than $4 billion and spent some $2.9 billion as of June 30.

To see specific details about New Jersey’s districts, click on the map. More information on the elections is available in NJ Spotlight’s Voter Guide.