If Gov. Christie were to resign early to pursue a bid for the presidency, a special election could be held to replace him, depending on the timing of his resignation. That scenario – an unusual one – could put candidates with lesser financial resources at a disadvantage: Unlike candidates in a regular gubernatorial election, they wouldn’t be able to opt into the state’s public financing program to raise money for their campaigns. The discrepancy, realized by officials at the state Election Law Enforcement Commission, prompted the introduction of a bill that cleared a Senate committee Monday.
The bill – sponsored by Sen. Jim Whelan (D., Atlantic) – would allow gubernatorial candidates in special elections to tap into public financing, letting them receive $2 in public money for every $1 they raise in private donations. Candidates must raise and spend $380,000 to qualify for the program, which caps their spending at $12.2 million in the general election.
“You don’t want this … to be just people who are able to self-finance,” Whelan said after Monday’s hearing of the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee. The bill has not been introduced in the Assembly.
Whelan said during the hearing the bill had “nothing to do with the current governor’s situation – whether he’s running for president or Bridgegate or anything else.”
Full Article: Bill would address post-Christie special-election scenario.