Party support, populist scorn follow Murphy's contributions

(AP) -- A top Democratic candidate for New Jersey governor helped cement his status through hundreds of thousands in donations to local parties, earning key establishment support along the way.

Election Law Enforcement Commission records show that since early 2015 Democratic candidate Phil Murphy contributed to most of the state's Democratic county parties as well as the state Democratic Committee, totaling about $250,000.

Murphy has since won endorsements from the state's county party chairmen and key unions.

But his deep pockets are also giving the state's former Sanders campaign chairman Assemblyman John Wisniewski fodder for attacks.

Murphy's campaign pushes back against the implication that he's buying influence, arguing that the money helped build the party in Republican-leaning counties and supporters say he's earned grass-roots support.

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