Independent special-interest groups spent nearly $42 million on this year’s state elections — for governor, Legislature, and ballot questions — bringing the total to $128 million, an increase of more than $30 million from 2009. In doing so, spending seems to have broken new records, according to Jeff Brindle, executive director of the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.
The estimated $72.4 million spent on the legislative election appears to be a spending record. The nearly $38 million in independent spending on just the gubernatorial and legislative elections (excluding the ballot questions) appears to be the fifth-highest ever for any state in the nation. The $5.8 million spent in the 38th legislative district is the fourth most expensive legislative campaign in history. Nearly $3 million was spent on the ballot question to raise the state minimum wage, another record.
Spending by the candidates for governor was less than half of what it was in 2009, at about $26 million, and significantly less than the $87 million that was spent in 2005. On the other hand, spending on legislative races was about $62 million, up from $26 million in 2009. A complete breakdown of the spending can be found on the NJ Election Law Enforcement site.