The top Republican in the New Jersey Assembly said campaign spending by special interest groups fueled the defeat of three GOP incumbents. Meanwhile, a fourth Republican is trailing in a race that’s still too close to call.
Campaign spending in all of those districts where Republicans lost totaled more than in elections two years ago.
And Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick said the defeated Republican incumbents could not overcome all the money spent on those races by unions and super PACs.
“We were competing against unlimited money of certain unions, such as the teachers union that didn’t want any change, and they were very negative against our candidates,” said Bramnick of Union County.
Both Republicans in the 11th district lost.
Independent groups funneled in money there for an attack ad against one of those candidates in the last three weeks of the campaign, said Jeff Brindle, executive director of the Election Law Enforcement Commission.
“Spending of an additional $200,000 at a critical point in the campaign certainly could have an influence on the outcome,” he said Wednesday.
Bramnick is confident the election outcome won’t endanger his leadership position.
“I have support from all my members, at least every member I’ve spoken to, to stay in leadership,” he said. “I worked as hard as I could, I raised money, but between the map and the money from the other side it’s very difficult.”