WASHINGTON – Claire Gustafson, a South Jersey Republican candidate for Congress who has relentlessly attacked primary opponent Garry Cobb, has fueled her campaign with $12,600 of her own money, according to an aide. But a full accounting of her financial support and spending won't be available until months after Tuesday's primary election.

Gustafson has not filed a full campaign finance report due to the timing of her fund-raising and technical problems with the federal reporting web site, according to her campaign manager, Steve Kush. Kush said they are in compliance with federal disclosure rules. Gustafson, Cobb and five other candidates are running for the Camden County-based House seat that was vacated in February by Democrat Rob Andrews.

Gustafson did plan to file a 48-hour notice Friday showing that she gave her campaign $12,600 on May 20 – six days after a May 14 deadline for inclusion in the final, pre-primary campaign report with a full accounting of fund-raising and spending. The personal donations account for the bulk of the roughly $17,000 Gustafson has raised for the race, Kush said.

He provided the Inquirer with a copy of the 48-hour notice, which is required to disclose donations in the days immediately before an election. Kush said it was being faxed to the Federal Election Commission after a series of problems trying to file electronically. It will be the campaign's only financial disclosure before the primary.

There have been "no violations" of federal rules said Kush, adding that "we've been through hell and back" in attempting to make a full filing with the FEC. The FEC did not immediately respond to a request to confirm its communications with Gustafson's campaign.

Gustafson, a former Collingswood school board member, is one of four Republicans seeking the party nomination in a heavily Democratic district.

She has relentlessly attacked Cobb, the pick of local party leaders, questioning his personal finances and referring to the ex-Eagles linebacker as a former Dallas Cowboy. (Cobb played for both teams during his NFL career).

Candidates for federal office must file campaign disclosures showing donors and spending if they have raised or spent $5,000 on their campaigns. But Gustafson did not reach that point until May 20, Kush said. That was after the cut-off for the final reports. (They were due May 22, but were based on activity through May 14). Once candidates are past that date but before the primary, they are only required to file 48-hour notices of late donations.

Kush said the campaign received the information needed to file electronically Tuesday (May 27) – but that FEC software prevented it from filing online because the deadline had passed. The campaign was instructed by FEC employees not to file a full report until the next deadline, July 15, Kush said. Instead, it intended to send its 48-hour notice Friday, he said.

Cobb had raised $13,350 by May 14.

The other two Republicans in the GOP primary – Gerard McManus and Lee Lucas -- have not made any filings. Each said they had not reached the $5,000 threshold.

Democrats running for the seat are former Marine Frank Broomell, Logan Township Mayor Frank Minor and state Sen. Donald Norcross (D., Camden). Through May 14, Broomell had raised $8,277 and Minor $8,720.

Norcross has raised $627,298, including donations reported after May 14. Among his donations are a combined $20,800 on May 19 from his brother, George Norcross, and George's wife. George Norcross is a South Jersey political power broker and majority owner of the Inquirer.

The $10,400 donated by each George and Sandra Norcross is double the amount donors can normally contribute to one candidate.

But because of a quirk in the election to replace Andrews, all candidates had the opportunity to tap supporters for twice the usual limit. That's because there are technically two races to replace Andrews: one special election to immediately fill his seat in November, and one regular election for the new term that begins in January. Voting in those races are being held simultaneously.

Only the three Democrats running can take advantage of this twist, though, because they registered for both races. The four Republicans failed to register for the special election, so they can only seek $5,200 per donor, not $10,400.

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