New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has raised a record $6.2 million for his re-election effort as the Republican seeks a second term in November.
The amount collected through May 2 is almost as much as the $6.8 million Christie raised in the entire 2009 election cycle, according to campaign-finance data. The 50-year-old has already garnered more in contributions for the June primary than any other New Jersey candidate for governor who didn’t fund his or her own campaign, the data show.
“Governor Christie’s style of strong leadership continues to resonate and draw an unprecedented show of support for the governor’s re-election from inside and outside of the state, and from across the donor spectrum,” William Palatucci, chairman of the campaign, said in a statement.
Christie led his Democratic challenger, state Senator Barbara Buono, by 32 percentage points in a poll released April 24 by Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. Buono, 59, a lawyer from Metuchen, has gained little ground since she announced her candidacy in December.
The governor’s financial tally is more than triple his rival’s. Buono received about $738,000 in private donations through April 30 and got $1.1 million in public matching funds, according to the state Election Law Enforcement Commission. Christie has opted to forgo public matching funds during the primary campaign.
David Turner, a spokesman for Buono, said he won’t release any fundraising information beyond what is reported to state election regulators. He said he’s “confident that Senator Buono’s message will resonate” with voters.
“We’re going to have the resources to compete and win in November,” he said. “That fact hasn’t changed.”
Christie’s approval ratings jumped to a high of 74 percent in February as voters praised his response to Hurricane Sandy. In the April 24 Quinnipiac poll, he had 67 percent support, with approval from 46 percent of Democrats and 73 percent of independent voters.
Christie’s calls for smaller government and lower taxes have made him a national Republican figure. He turned down requests to run for president in October 2011, saying he couldn’t abandon his commitment to help New Jersey recover from the recession. He hasn’t ruled out a 2016 White House bid.
The Christie campaign drew 14,260 contributors through May 3, almost six times the number that gave to his 2009 effort. More than 75 percent of the donors for this election gave in amounts of $100 or less. Individuals from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., have contributed, with 85 percent coming from within New Jersey, his campaign said.
Christie has more than $3.4 million in cash on hand, even after accounting for a $1.2 million television advertisement first broadcast last week, according to his campaign.
Christie raised $17.6 million from private donors and public funding for his 2009 race, according to data from the state’s Election Law Enforcement Commission. He ousted incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. co-chairman who raised $32 million and self-financed most of his effort to win a second term.
Christie and Buono each face one lesser-known opponent in the June 4 primary. Troy Webster, a mayoral aide in East Orange, is seeking the Democratic nomination while the governor is being challenged by Republican Seth Grossman, a lawyer from Linwood.