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Election spending lowest in a decade - Ocean City Sentinel: News

Election spending lowest in a decade

District’s legislative races did not bring out the big spending in 2019

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Posted: Wednesday, January 22, 2020 11:16 am

Spending on the 2019 state legislative election was the lowest in a decade despite a price tag of nearly $25 million to fill a state Senate seat and 80 state Assembly seats, according to reports from the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC).

Candidates spent $19 million on the general election while independent special interest groups sank another $5.9 million into the elections, which took place Nov. 5.

Republicans made gains despite the fact that Democratic candidates spent three times more statewide on the general election — $12.2 million versus $4.8 million.

In the First Legislative District, which encompasses Cape May County, candidates spent $1.8 million, while independent groups spent $1.07 million, for a total of $2.9 million.

Republican Assembly candidates Erik Simonsen and Antwan McClellan, under the committee Friends of Simonsen and McClellan, reported receiving $105,959, according to their 20-day post-election report filed Nov. 27. 

Of that, $65,385 was raised from monetary contributions in excess of $300, while $40,273 was raised from in-kind contributions of more than $300.

Contributors included Keith Laudman of Fisherman’s Wharf in Cape May with $2,600; Robert Belasco of Wildwood Crest with $1,000; the Cape May County RRO of Wildwood gave $5,000; Leon Costello of Ford Scott & Associates LLC of Ocean City gave $2,000; Eustace Mita of Chester, Pa., gave $2,000; Ernest Utsch of Cape May gave $500; Willow Creek Winery of West Cape May gave $1,000; and Citizens for ICE/Neighbor Research & Media of Rodanthe, N.C., donated $25,246. 

Simonsen and McClellan’s campaign spent $57,244, according to the report. Expenditures included $8,000 to Just Right TV for media production, $95 to Lowe’s for billboards and lawn signs; $433 to Rio Station Restaurant in Rio Grande for a fundraising dinner; and $33 to iHop in Vineland for food for travel related to a radio program. 

Friends of Simonsen and McClellan’s 11-day pre-election report, filed Oct. 28, listed total contributions of $22,855, of which $19,685 were contributions in excess of $300, and $3,170 on in-kind contributions in excess of $300. Simonsen and McClellan’s campaign raised a cumulative of $63,713 11 days before the election, according to the report. 

Donors listed in the 11-day pre-election report included Rebecca Albertson of Ocean City, who donated $500; $1,000 from attorney Paul Baldini of Wildwood; $500 from Brian Broadley of Marmora; $9,735 from a fundraiser; $1,000 from David Richter for Congress; $1,000 from Cape May County Freeholder and Sea Isle City Mayor Leonard Desiderio; $1,000 from Ocean City Mayor Jay Gillian; $5,200 from the GOPAC Election Fund of Arlington, Va.; $500 from Scott Halliday of Ocean City; $500 from Gary and Denise Jessel of Ocean City; $1,000 from Dallas Krapf of Exton, Pa.; $500 from John L. Linnington III of Rio Grande; $500 from Ocean City Councilman Peter Madden; $1,000 from Remington & Vernick Engineers of Haddonfield; $1,000 from Thornton and Hayes for Freeholder in Ocean City.

In-kind contributions listed were $3,170 from the Republican State Committee in Trenton.

Democrat incumbents Bruce Land and Matt Milam filed separate campaign contribution reports. 

Land’s 11-day pre-election report listed $14,666 raised with $600 from contributions of $300 or less and $14,066 in contributions in excess of $300.

Donors listed on the report who contributed donations in excess of $300 include $1,000 from Robert Balicki of Millville; $8,200 from the Election Fund of Craig Coughlin of Fords; $3,000 from the JEB PAC State Fund of Cranford; $1,000 from Daniel Levecchia from Cape May Foods LLC of Millville; and $866 from NAIOP Developers Political Action Committee of New Brunswick. 

Land’s campaign spent $13,293, according to the 11-day pre-election report; expenditures listed are $36 in bank charges. 

According to Land’s 20-day post-election report filed Dec. 2, the candidate raised a total of $13,800 for his re-election campaign but no contributions were reported from 11 days before the election.

Milam’s 11-day pre-election report, filed Oct. 25, lists $13,566 raised in the campaign, with $500 from contributions of $300 or less, and $13,066 in contributions in excess of $300.

No donor information was provided in the report. 

Milam’s 20-day post-election report filed Nov. 25, listed $12,700 in total receipts, with $500 in contributions of $300 or less and $12,200 in contributions in excess of $300.

Milam’s campaign spent $12,725, according to the report, with $45 in bank charges the only expenditures listed.

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