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Program Provides Matching Funds For NJ Gubernatorial Candidates

Election Law Enforcement Commission logo

So far three of the candidates who want to be New Jersey's next Governor have raised enough money to qualify for matching funds.

After gubernatorial candidates meet the threshold of raising and spending $430,000 to qualify for the state program, they can get two dollars in public matching funds for every private dollar they raise.

There's a $4 million limit on public funds for a primary election campaign and a $9.3 million cap for the general election.

Jeff Brindle is executive director of the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.

He says the public funds allow qualified candidates to mount competitive campaigns and help produce issue-oriented and scandal-free elections.

"Certainly one of the benefits these days is when you have so much of this independent spending, the public financing is more valuable than ever because it helps to offset some of the influence of independent expenditure groups."

Since the program began 40 years ago, Brindle says 69 candidates have received $117 million in public matching funds.

“The program has enabled three Republicans and three Democrats to win the office of Governor and, in some cases, helped them win re-election.”

Money for the matching funds comes from voluntary check-off contributions on state income tax forms and from the state's general fund.