TRENTON - When it comes to raising campaign cash in New Jersey, Republicans are no match for Democrats.
Recently released campaign-finance reports show that Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate and House continue to far outpace their Republican rivals in the most competitive races.
The second-quarter reports, which document fund-raising through June 30, show Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg with a 3-1 fund-raising edge over his Republican rival, former U.S. Rep. Dick Zimmer.
Democratic State Sen. John Adler, running for an open congressional seat in the Third District, in Burlington and Camden Counties, has 10 times the cash on hand that rival Chris Myers has. And in the Seventh District, Democrat Linda Stender has a $1.1 million advantage over Republican State Sen. Leonard Lance for New Jersey's other open congressional seat.
"Our fund-raising strength is a direct reflection of our political strength," said Democratic State Committee spokesman Richard McGrath. "The Republican brand name has become toxic in the eyes of voters, who can't wait to bring the Bush era to an end."
Second-quarter filings with the Federal Election Commission show Lautenberg with $1.29 million in cash on hand at the end of June, compared with $411,000 for Zimmer.
The filings also show the Democratic U.S. House candidates maintaining large money leads in the two districts where retiring Republican congressmen are presenting the chance for Democrats to widen their 7-6 lead in New Jersey's congressional delegation.
In the Third District in southern New Jersey, where Rep. Jim Saxton is retiring after nearly 24 years, Adler had nearly $1.5 million cash on hand as of June 30, versus $155,407 for Myers, a Lockheed Martin Corp. executive and a councilman in Medford Township.
Farther north, Stender is airing TV ads as she seeks to win in the Seventh District, where she nearly defeated Rep. Mike Ferguson two years ago. With Ferguson not seeking reelection, Republicans picked Lance, a respected legislative leader whose family has been in the district since colonial times.
Stender had $1.2 million cash on hand, while Lance had only $80,793 after a tough primary fight. Stender is also among 31 congressional candidates across the country benefiting from a recent $35 million Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee television ad buy.
Even some Republican incumbents are not comfortably ahead of Democratic challengers. In the Fifth District in the far north, GOP Rep. Scott Garrett had $649,003 and his Democratic challenger, Dennis Shulman, a psychologist and rabbi, had $258,381.