The governor’s race in New Jersey, the state’s second most expensive, cost more than $90 million.
According to a report released Wednesday by the New Jersey Contest Law Enforcement Commission, a near-record amount of money was spent in this year’s gubernatorial election in New Jersey (ELEC).
The overall cost was estimated to be $90,666,548 and includes cash spent before, during, and after the state’s primary election, as well as funds spent leading up to the November 2 general election.
The total amount spent on a gubernatorial election in New Jersey is the highest ever, but when adjusted for inflation, it falls short of the amount spent in the state’s 2005 governorship contest, according to the commission’s report. With all election spending levels adjusted for inflation from the early 1980s to present year, the 2021 gubernatorial election came in second most expensive in the state, barely ahead of the total amount spent in the 2009 governor’s campaign.
The commission said in a news release on Wednesday that independent expenditure surged during the most recent campaign cycle, adding that this additional element “pushed up the cost” of the election.
In the report, ELEC Executive Director Jeff Brindle stated, “What may be most remarkable is that independent spending hit $41.7 million, or roughly 46 percent of overall spending.” That was a 69 percent increase over the amount of independent money recorded in the 2017 gubernatorial race, which set a new high for independent spending in a New Jersey gubernatorial election at the time.
“At this rate, independent groups may soon outspend candidates in New Jersey’s gubernatorial races,” said Brindle.
According to ELEC’s assessment, both Democratic and Republican candidates spent less than the total amount credited to independent spending. Governor Phil Murphy, a Democrat who won a second term by a razor-thin margin, spent an estimated $16.4 million, according to the commission, while his Republican competitor Jack Ciattarelli spent roughly $15.8 million. Third-party candidates increased their spending, bringing the total amount spent by gubernatorial candidates to about $49 million.
Murphy led Ciattarelli by several points in polls in the days leading up to the election, while the Democrat’s lead had reduced in the weeks before voters cast their ballots. As votes were tabulated, the race became considerably tighter, with the Associated Press declaring Murphy the winner on November 3 evening.
Despite the fact that the election was closer than most. This is a condensed version of the information.