The money race in the 14th District Senate contest, which many thought could be the premier legislative race of the season, is so far a heavily lopsided affair.
To date, Democratic incumbent Linda Greenstein has raised more than $193,000 in her re-election bid against former 14th District Republican state Sen. Peter Inverso who is making a comeback effort. Greenstein maintains about $146,000 on hand.
But while the incumbent has been burning up the rubber chicken circuit, Inverso has raised just $18,100, $8,200 of it from Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. Inverso maintains about $15,000 on hand.
Inverso held his first fundraiser over the past month and besides the Kean donation, the bulk of his contributions have been in increments of less than $300.
Inverso was late getting into the race, deciding to mount his comeback attempt only as the deadline to file approached.
Historically, 14th District races have been among the most expensive in the state to run. Total spending in the district between 1999 and 2010 topped $14 million, the highest total of any district in the state over that time period. Two years ago, Greenstein spent about $350,000 in dispatching Hamilton resident Richard Kanka and in 2010 she raised more than $1.1 million to defeat Republican Tom Goodwin, who held the seat after Republican Bill Baroni left for a job at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
In addition, Greenstein can count on heavy union support and has already received the backing of several trade and public sector unions. Those groups have already made their presence felt, donating more than $35,000 to the Democrat in just the last month alone.
Inverso did not immediately return a call for comment on his fundraising totals.
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"Enlisting Fox is another reminder of how much Christie has truly relied on insiders, including Democrats, to bolster his agenda or bail him out of trouble. Not long after arriving in Trenton in 2009, Christie began collaborating with George Norcross, the deeply entrenched Democratic Party kingmaker, to help him cut deals with a Democratic-controlled Legislature.
When his close ally David Samson resigned as chairman of the Port Authority over conflict-of-interest questions earlier this year, Christie replaced Samson with John Degnan, a pillar of the Democratic Party establishment. And now, confronted with a crisis, Christie has turned to “Jamie,’’ as Fox has been known throughout political circles since he began as an aide in the Democratic Senate in the 1980s." - columnist Charles Stile
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