The race for legislative seats in the 2nd Legislative District is the most expensive in the entire state, according to reports released by the state Election Law Enforcement Commission on Thursday.
Democrats and Republicans in the district, which includes most of Atlantic County, have collectively raised $3.7 million and spent $3.2 million by Oct. 28, the filing deadline for the latest round of campaign finance reports.
In this district, Democratic Sen. Jim Whelan, 63, of Atlantic City, is fighting Republican challenger Assemblyman Vince Polistina, 40, of Egg Harbor Township for the Senate seat.
Democrats Alisa Cooper, 59, of Linwood and Damon Tyner, 41, of Egg Harbor Township, are challenging Republican Assemblyman John Amodeo, 61, of Margate, and running mate Chris Brown, 47, of Ventnor.
Republicans held the cash advantage at the filing deadline, 11 days before the election. Republicans reported a collective $417,423 between Polistina, Amodeo and Brown, while Whelan, Cooper and Tyner had $152,907 on hand.
The local spending, which has fueled a barrage of largely negative attack ads, is significantly greater than in the 38th Legislative District in Bergen County, the only other district in the state to crack $3 million. There, candidates have raised $3.4 million and spent $3 million by the 11-day filing deadline.
The 1st Legislative District, which includes Cape May, Cumberland and Atlantic County, was the 8th most expensive races. There, candidates have raised $1.3 million and spent $1.1 million.
These sums come as ELEC reports overall campaign funding is down 8 percent from 2007, the last time both houses of the state legislature were on the ballot. That year, ELEC reported candidates across all 40 legislative districts had collectively raised $36.4 million and spent $24.8 million.