Democrats in the 2nd Legislative District have significantly out-raised and out-spent Republicans, but with less than a month before the election, Republican candidates have much more cash to spend.

Republicans raised about a half-million dollars by Monday’s deadline to file campaign finance reports, and Democrats took in about $1 million. While Republicans have spent about $172,000, Democrats have spent more than four times as much.

However, Democrats had less than $100,000 on hand, while the Republicans had almost three-and-a-half times as much money.

The figures are from state-mandated reports that chronicle the finances of political campaigns 29 days before an election. Money is important because it enables candidates to promote their campaigns and attack rivals.

In this year’s election, Atlantic County Sheriff Frank X. Balles, a Republican, is challenging incumbent Sen. Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic. In the Assembly race, Vince Mazzeo and Nick Russo, the Democratic mayors of Northfield and Longport, respectively, are taking on incumbents John Amodeo and Chris Brown, both R-Atlantic.

The overall dollar amounts are less than they were at a similar point in 2011. Candidates for the 2nd District, which covers most of Atlantic County, eventually spent $5.2 million in 2011, the most in the state and the third-most ever.

The biggest donor on the Republican side this year is Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr., R-Union, who has previously said he would target South Jersey Democrats. His legislative leadership committee donated $70,800 on Oct. 6 to the Friends of Balles, Amodeo and Brown.

The Senate Republican Majority also gave $60,000 to Balles’ campaign.

State law does not place spending limits on legislative leadership committees or state parties.

The Republicans’ top expense was advertising, including $112,812 spent by Balles with the Strategy Group for Phones LLC, of Delaware, Ohio, for mail advertisements.

The biggest donors on the Democratic side were unions, which gave more than $115,000. State Democrats also made about $110,000 in in-kind contributions, including for direct mail and staff.

Like their opponents, the Democrats’ largest expense was advertising. Whelan’s campaign fund and the Democrats’ collective fund together spent $242,000 with the Campaign Group of Philadelphia for ads and lesser amounts with other groups.

Democrats also reported sending nearly $125,000 to state party officials. The committee sent $74,500 to the state committee Sept. 11 and another $50,000 to the state Assembly campaign committee Sept. 24.

Contact Derek Harper:

609-272-7046

@dnharper on Twitter

2nd District campaign finances  
The state Election Law Enforcement Commission requires candidates to file campaign finance reports 29 and 11 days before, and 20 days after, an election.The following show the results of the 29-day pre-general election report for current 2nd Legislative District candidates.   
  Amount Amount  Cash 
Candidate raised spent on hand   
Republicans      
Frank X. Balles $212,858 $131,522 $81,325
Chris Brown $177,956 $39,118 $138,838
Friends of Balles,      
Amodeo and Brown $110,220 $1,256 $108,964
       
Democrats      
Jim Whelan $403,173 $387,479 $15,693
Whelan for Senate,       
Mazzeo & Russo      
for Assembly $597,373 $518,910 $78,463
Source: Election Law Enforcement Commission filings

Five years as Ocean County bureau chief, 12 years as regional news editor (not continuous), 10 years as copy editor (also not continuous), all at The Press of Atlantic City.