TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie will accept state public matching funds for his fall re-election bid.
The Christie for Governor campaign made an initial filing Tuesday with more than $4.1 million raised in 75 days.
Campaign Chairman Bill Palatucci said the filing, which was just shy of the $4.22 million maximum that can be matched in a general election, demonstrates strong support for Christie and his first-term record.
The 2-for-1 match will give the campaign more than $8 million, a sizeable advantage over Christie’s Democratic opponent, Sen. Barbara Buono.
Buono has made only one public filing since winning her party’s primary with $450,000. The first $120,000 raised is not eligible for the public match.
Buono does not intend to file a submission to meet Tuesday’s deadline, said her spokesman, David Turner.
She also accepted public funds for the primary, but did not raise enough money to receive the maximum match. The Christie campaign says the governor raised $6.7 million for the primary and did not rely on public funds.
Accepting public money frees up candidates from having to fundraise continually and is the state’s attempt to level the field in primaries and general elections by providing viable candidates enough money to be competitive.
Candidates who accept public funds are obligated to participate in two pre-election debates. Those have not been scheduled yet.
Christie also tapped matching funds in 2009, when he received the maximum allowed and scored an upset victory despite being significantly outspent by then-Gov. Jon Corzine, an unpopular Democrat.
Christie, who is seen as a viable contender for the 2016 Republican nomination for president, is far ahead of Buono in public polls, and is leading among nearly every demographic group, including unaffiliated voters and women.
Both Christie and Buono faced only token opposition in their party primaries in June.