Staff Writer

Candidates for the Legislature and the Governor’s Office have raised more than $30.5 million, spent $14.7 million and have more than $16 million left on hand, according to data compiled by the state’s Election Law Enforcement Commission and released Monday.

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Candidates were required to file election financial disclosure statements May 6, the first major reporting deadline of the 2013 campaign. Money is important because it enables a candidate to pay for staff, promote his or her agenda and get out the vote.

ELEC said legislative candidates have raised $22.5 million, up 28 percent from 2011, but had $11.4 million on hand, about 7 percent less.

Jeff Brindle, ELEC’s executive director, said he believed legislative candidates had deeper reserves in 2011 because incumbent state senators had four years to raise money, rather than two. The state constitution requires a two-year Senate cycle following the census.

Locally, candidates in the 2nd District, which includes most of Atlantic County, seem poised to again set spending records. There, the candidates for office reported raising $301,149 and spending $66,496, ending with $484,684 on hand.

Candidates for governor had raised $8 million this year, almost $2 million less than four years ago, but had $4.6 million on hand, almost a million more. Brindle pointed to former Gov. Jon Corzine being able to self-fund his unsuccessful re-election campaign in 2009, as well as fewer candidates seeking the office in 2013.

The Democratic Party’s presumptive candidate, Barbara Buono, has raised almost $1.8 million while facing a candidate who did not raise enough to require detailed campaign finance reporting.

On the Republican side, Gov. Chris Christie raised $6.2 million and had $3.5 million on hand. These totals dwarfed his opponent, Somers Point attorney Seth Grossman, who reported raising $8,950 and had $1,120 on hand.

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