More than $90 million was spent on the governor’s race for New Jersey, the second most expensive state in the state

A near-record amount of money was spent during this year’s New Jersey gubernatorial election, according to a report It was released on Wednesday by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC).

The total, estimated at $90,666,548, included money spent before and during the state’s primary, as well as heading into the November 2 general election.

In its report, the commission said the figure represented the largest total amount spent on a New Jersey gubernatorial election, but when adjusted for inflation, it fell below the amount spent during the state’s 2005 gubernatorial race. With all electoral spending adjusted for inflation from the early 1980s through this year, the 2021 gubernatorial election ended up being the second most expensive in the state, ahead of the total amount spent during the 2009 governor’s race.

Electoral spending for Phil Murphy in 2021
The New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission said more than $90 million has been spent on this year’s gubernatorial election. Above, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy greets supporters as he arrives to deliver his Grand Arcade victory speech at the pavilion on November 3, 2021, in Asbury Park, New Jersey.
Eduardo Munoz Alvarez / Getty Images

In a press release on Wednesday, the committee noted that independent spending increased during the last campaign cycle and said the changing component “has increased the cost” of the election.

“Perhaps most importantly, standalone spending was $41.7 million, or roughly 46 percent of total spending,” Electricity CEO Jeff Brendel said in the statement. This amount represents a 69 percent increase over the amount of independent spending reported in 2017, which at the time set the record for independent spending in the New Jersey gubernatorial election.

“At this rate, independent groups could soon spend more than candidates in the New Jersey gubernatorial election,” Brendel added.

The Electric report said that the Democratic and Republican candidates collectively spent less than the total amount allocated to independent spending. The commission said Governor Phil Murphy, a Democrat who narrowly won a second term, spent an estimated $16.4 million while his Republican challenger, Jack Citarelli, spent about $15.8. Additional spending by third-party candidates pushed the total amount of money spent by candidates for governor to nearly $49 million.

In the days leading up to the elections, Opinion polls indicated Murphy was several points ahead of Ciattarelli, although the Democrat’s lead narrowed in the weeks before the votes were cast. The race ended much closer as the votes were tallied, with The Associated Press Call the race at the end For Murphy on the evening of November 3rd.

Although the election was closer than most polls suggested, Brendel said Murphy is the candidate who appears to have benefited the most from independent spending in the race, with about 84 percent of that money supporting Murphy’s campaign. Brendel said independent groups have “become very influential” in elections in New Jersey in recent years.

NEWSWEEK The Democratic Governors Association and the Republican Governors Association have been reached for comment and will update this article with any response.

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