ANALYSIS: Did Asw. DeCroce, allies spend 3-to-4 times more per vote than her closest competitor?

Governor Chris Christie took a victory lap of sorts after last Tuesday’s primaries, Save Jerseyans, touting the success of pro-gas tax hike GOP incumbents as some species of voter validation of last October’s controversial plan to shore-up the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF).

“While there was a lot of tumult in some limited areas about our decision to fund the TTF the way we did, I think the primary election results from Tuesday show that the people who supported the gas tax increase were returned to office,” Christie said.

But did New Jersey’s primary-goers consciously cast votes to validate his gas tax hike?

Or did money prove the ultimate difference maker?

This Monday, the following chart and an accompanying post-election memorandum were provided to state media outlets by the campaign of Asm. Jay Webber (R-26); Assemblyman Webber’s district mate, Betty Lou DeCroce, was one of the successfully-renominated backers of the gas tax plan and one of Webber’s three competitors in the June 6th contest:

Candidate

$ per vote

Assemblyman Webber

$16

Assemblywoman DeCroce

$91

Freeholder Lyon

$25

Freeholder Cesaro

$22

The ColdSpark consulting memo is viewable here.

Its authors (who worked for Webber) note that final campaign finance figures won’t be available for awhile and, moreover, that the current numbers are based on estimates and analysis of spending to date (more reports are coming down the pipeline soon). 

What’s clear: LD26 saw unprecedented levels of labor union-linked spending throughout the spring months.

Participation of outside groups in LD26 and nearby LD24 prompted Jeff Brindle, executive director of the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, to take the unusual step of citing the specific races (while they were still in progress) as exemplifying the need for stricter campaign finance disclosure regulations.

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