Christie Boosts N.J. Republican Pre-Election Cash

Gov. Chris Christie was good for Republicans’ bottom line heading into the November elections: Campaign finance regulators reported today the party’s largest political action committees doubled fundraising from the same period four years ago.

The “Big Three” Republican fundraising committees — the Republican State Committee and leadership funds in the state Senate and Assembly — saw fundraising increase 108 percent to $4.4 million last year, the state’s Election Law Enforcement Commission reported today. Christie is seeking a second term in November, as the entire 120-member legislature stands for re-election.

The outspoken governor is currently in a strong position headed into the election, with approval ratings north of 70 percent and Democrats unable to gel around a challenger. Christie reversed a decade-long money gap for his party that has trailed in the money race. Democrats, who now control both chambers of the state’s Assembly, saw fundraising plunge 41 percent to $2.7 million last year from 2008, according to the report.

“Campaigns are expensive, and candidates and parties have to start planning well ahead to have adequate cash for the election,” Jeff Brindle, executive director of the election finance agency, said in a statement accompanying the report.

At the close of the year, Republicans also took the lead in cash-on-hand. The party had $957,497 in the bank compared to Democrats’ $727,028, the report said. Ahead of the 2009 election in which Christie ousted Jon Corzine, Republicans had just half of Democrats’ $1.2 million.

Douglas Mayer, a spokesman for the New Jersey Republican State Committee, didn’t immediately return an e-mail and phone call seeking comment. Michael Drewniak, Christie’s spokesman, referred all questions to the party’s political wing.

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