Incumbents outstrip GOP challengers on funding

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 Dems spend big money on media buys

The Democratic incumbents in the 1st District legislative race have a huge funding advantage over their Republican challengers.

According to recently released campaign funding reports, the campaign of Sen. Jeff Van Drew and Assemblymen Nelson Albano and Matt Milam raised $227,814 for the 2011 election to try to remain in office.

The report filed by the Republican ticket, David DeWeese for Senate and Suzanne Walters and Sam Fiocchi for state Assembly, showed $68,900 raised so far.

While the Democrats were already ahead in fundraising, drawing larger contributions from unions' political action committees and other PACs, they got a big boost on Oct. 7, with a contribution of $150,000 from the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee, their report showed.

That money went right back out the door, with a same-day payment of $150,000 wired to Petta Ryan and Company of Natick, Mass., for what is only described as “media.” That followed a $29,344 payment to the same company, also on Oct. 7.

The company describes itself as “one of the most experienced, strategic media planning and buying firms in the country," run by Susan Ryan and Rosemary Petta.

The campaign received contributions from local sources, including $1,000 each from attorneys Jeff April of Marmora and James Pickering of South Seaville, the report showed. The report also showed a $10,000 contribution from the Van Drew for Senate campaign. Other contributions came from the IBEW local’s PAC, which contributed $16,400 on Sept. 30, from the Communications Workers of America NJ PAC, which gave $2,5000 on July 23, $8,000 from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees on July 16, and $3,500 from the Recreational Fishing Alliance, among others.

The Republican ticket also took in PAC money, including $3,000 from PENPAC in Paramus, but their report showed more of their contributions have come from individuals, such as $2,600 from Cinthia Sealey of Margate. The campaign financing form also showed thousands of dollars raised from business people throughout the state and district, and a $1,000 contribution from Marie Britton of Britton’s Gourmet Bakery in Wildwood Crest.

The GOP slate’s report showed numerous contributions of $500, including from Gary Schaffer of Marmora, the Cape May County Sheriff, businessman David Beyel of Marmora, the brother of the current freeholder director, Michael Caruso of Atlantic Eye Care in Cape May Court House, and Timothy Fitzpatrick of Wildwood Crest.

The candidates also filed separate reports.

For the Senate seat, Van drew showed a total $121,725, with no money transferred from the spring primary.

During the primary, Van Drew raised more than $300,000, but spent almost all of that, split almost evenly between campaign expenses and other disbursements, his closing report from the primary filed on June 26 shows.

Much of Van Drew’s money for the general election was raised from contributions of $1,000 or more.

The largest campaign contribution reported was $12,000 on Aug. 5 from La Costa Lounge in Sea Isle City, the report shows.

Among the other contributors were $2,000 from Lunds Fisheries in Cape May on Sept. 13, and $1,200 from Cold Spring Fish and Supply in Cape May on Aug. 6.

Van Drew also showed a big check written to an out-of-state company for “media,” with $30,000 going to Totten Communications of Alexandria, Va., on Sept. 6.

DeWeese showed $99,784 raised, which included $60,144 left over from the spring primary. DeWeese’s campaign report showed no spending so far on the campaign.

Among DeWeese’s contributors were police and fire unions. The NJ State Policemen’s Benevolent Association gave $2,600 on Sept. 12, while local 249 of the FMBA gave $300, the report shows.

Numerous businesses from the Wildwoods contributed to the campaign, the report shows.

On the Assembly side, the numbers were not as big. Albano’s report showed a total of $30,450 raised, much of it from union sources, while the state’s Election Law Enforcement Commission’s website did not show a campaign funding report for Milam aside from the one filed as a member of a political ticket.

Walters, the mayor of Stone Harbor, showed $18,919 raised so far, including $2,500 from James Byrne of the Byrne Agency insurance group of Wildwood and $2,600 from Craig Remington of Remington, Vernick and Walberg, whose partners are often represented in local campaign contribution reports.

Fiocchi, a Cumberland County freeholder, showed $21,439 raised for the campaign in his first report, which included close to $10,000 from the prior campaign, and $5,100 raised from contributions of over $300.

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