Turn on the television, and amid the cavalcade of political ads, there's Democratic congressional candidate John Adler. He's been on TV for three weeks, but his opponent, Chris Myers, has yet to appear on the tube.

Campaign-finance reports made public yesterday explain why.

Adler, a Camden County state senator, has raised almost $2.5 million, with $1.3 million in cash on hand, to finance his campaign in the Third Congressional District, which includes Cherry Hill in Camden County and runs through Burlington and Ocean Counties.

Myers, the mayor of Medford, has been no slouch, raising $995,774 - just a few checks shy of $1 million. He has $71,000 in cash on hand.

Although this has been a Republican district for decades, Democrats believe that a change in demographics helps their cause. The seat opened because of the retirement of Republican Rep. James Saxton, a congressman for 24 years. Independent polls put Myers and Adler in a dead heat with less than three weeks to go until the Nov. 4 election.

Both candidates continued to raise and spend money after the Sept. 30 cutoff date for this round of campaign-funding disclosures, and Myers' account does not reflect a Sept. 22 fund-raiser at which President Bush appeared for him and Central Jersey congressional candidate Leonard Lance, a Republican state senator running against Democratic Assemblywoman Linda Stender.

Myers' campaign manager, Chris Russell, said Myers received $65,000 from that event. And Myers has more coming in from an event this week featuring former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Both Adler and Myers are getting help from national party committees. Myers was barely on the National Republican Congressional Committee's radar until Saxton, a supporter, made a whopping $400,000 contribution to the panel. The NRCC recently sent out brochures for Myers.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has been helping Adler for months with political advice, fund-raising and contacting voters.

If measured by contributions, the sector most interested in seeing Myers in Congress is the defense industry, which gave him $166,000. Most donations - about $138,000 - have come from employees of Lockheed Martin in Moorestown, where Myers is a vice president on leave during this campaign.

Adler's fellow lawyers ponied up $331,500. He also took in more than $100,000 in contributions from finance and insurance interests.

His campaign manager, Mark Warren, said Adler had raised money from a wide variety of sources.

"People of all backgrounds are supporting John Adler because they want change," Warren said.

Both campaigns also took in money from the same lawyers, engineers and other vendors who fill the war chests of the local political organizations that are sponsoring them. Myers is backed by the Burlington County Republicans and Adler by the Camden County Democrats.

Myers' campaign manager pushed aside the obstacle of lopsided fund-raising yesterday, saying: "This was our best quarter. We've been gaining steam all along."

He said that he believed the campaign was "positioned very well" for the final days of the race and that it probably would buy television advertising.

The district is among the most expensive in the country in which to run television ads because it is part of both the Philadelphia and New York markets. A week of advertising in the Philadelphia market costs about $300,000, while a week of New York television advertising costs about $1 million, according to campaign consultants who book ads.

Although Senate candidates must file campaign-finance reports when congressional candidates do, their records are not as immediately available to the public. Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg's campaign said he has raised $6.4 million and has $921,000 in cash on hand. Former U.S. Rep. Richard Zimmer's campaign did not respond to calls and e-mails for information last night.

So far, Lautenberg's campaign has not bought television time; the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has financed those ads appearing on television. Zimmer, the Republican Senate nominee, has come up with a few Internet ads but hasn't found the money to put them out to most voters via mainstream media.

A Fairleigh Dickinson University poll of 760 likely voters showed that 71 percent had not heard of Zimmer. The poll, released last week, put Lautenberg in the lead; 50 percent of the respondents said they would vote for him, compared with 34 percent who favored Zimmer.