Spadea’s Garden State Gov. Run Gets A Closer NJ Look

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The New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission has stated that it is reviewing whether or not the morning host of popular Townsquare Media-owned News/Talk “New Jersey 101.5” can stay on the air, now that he has announced he’s running for Governor.


As RBR+TVBR reported on Monday, WKXW-FM in Trenton, N.J.’s Bill Spadea verbally declared that he’s now a candidate to succeed Phil Murphy as Governor of New Jersey, and seeks the Republican nomination for the seat. Murphy is prohibited from running again due to term limits.

Townsquare Media believes Spadea staying on the air until spring 2025 isn’t an issue, as he has not filed official paperwork with New Jersey and, as such, has not violated any campaign rules.

Yet, the NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission has sent an “Order to Show Cause” to  Spadea and to Townsquare Media and will hold a hearing on Wednesday (6/26) to determine if the airtime provided to Spadea should be counted as an indirect financial benefit to his campaign.

The legal limit for an in-kind contribution is $5,800, per new state inflation adjustments.

Spadea and Townsquare Media must respond to the Order to Show Cause by Monday. Other parties have until the day of the hearing to submit briefs.

In a statement, Spadea commented, “Leave it to the ‘Trenton Swamp’ to come after the first middle-class threat to their fiefdom in decades. My opponents and their power broker pals are coming after me for one reason: they’re scared of what I stand for. The insiders are scared that when I win, the people of New Jersey will regain power – and they’ll lose theirs. I’ve got news for everyone. We’re digging in. We’re ready to fight. We’re not going anywhere.”

Spadea’s lawyer Charles Spies told Mayfair Media blog New Jersey Globe, “Bill Spadea has been a wildly popular radio host for almost a decade and there is nothing in New Jersey law that requires him to give up his livelihood while running for office. His radio show is not campaign related and as long as he avoids mentioning his campaign he has a Constitutionally protected right to continue discussing local issues important to everyday New Jerseyans.”

Townsquare Media previously stated, “Until he becomes a legally qualified candidate, Bill will continue to fulfill his employment responsibilities entertaining and informing the local audience on NJ 101.5 airwaves and digital platforms, as he has done for the last 9 years. However, we are sensitive to the legal parameters attendant keeping a broadcast personality on air while they are seeking public office. Accordingly, we have taken steps and imposed guidelines to ensure that Bill’s on-air presence over the coming months and until he becomes a legally qualified candidate, are in accordance with New Jersey election law, applicable FCC guidance, and industry standards and best practices for such circumstances.”

— With reporting by Cameron Coats, in New York

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