Rep. Kathleen C. Hochul continues to dominate the dash for cash in the tightly fought race for Congress in New York’s 27th District, pulling in an additional $347,534 in the first 17 days of October – more than twice as much as her Republican opponent, former Erie County Executive Chris Collins.
While Collins continues to benefit from huge amounts of spending from outside political groups, reports filed late this week with the Federal Election Commission show Hochul, D-Hamburg, has the financial edge in several ways.
She’s raised $2.86 million overall, far more than twice the amount reported by Collins, whose $650,000 personal loan to his campaign amounted to 56 percent of his campaign funds.
And while Hochul had $651,251 to fund the last three weeks of her campaign, Collins had only $179,329.
The Hochul-Collins figures highlighted the pre-election reports filed by local congressional candidates, which also showed challengers with the cash to compete against incumbent Reps. Tom Reed, R-Corning, and Louise M. Slaughter, D-Fairport.
As it has since the start of the 27th District race, the Collins camp downplayed the financial disparity in the contest. “Chris has always had more than enough resources to get his message out,” said campaign adviser Christopher M. Grant.
The campaign continued to raise money and buy television advertising time beyond the Oct. 17 campaign finance reporting deadline, Grant said.
Asked if that meant that Collins, a successful businessman before entering politics, would be lending more money to his campaign, Grant said: “We’re going to make these decisions on a case-by-case basis.”
Grant also indicated that Hochul’s superior fundraising was not necessarily something for her to be proud of.
“Kathy Hochul is a career politician who spends significant if not inordinate amounts of time raising money,” he said.
Hochul’s campaign manager, Frank Thomas, dismissed that charge.
“These numbers are a reflection of Kathy’s popularity and [Collins’] lack of it,” Thomas said, adding: “No one has ever doubted that she works incredibly hard doing what she loves most, spending as much time as possible meeting voters.”
Thomas said the bulk of Hochul’s money came from thousands of individual voters. About a quarter of her money came from political action committees, which is far less than the other three incumbent House members from Western New York got from PACs.
Reed raised more than half his $1.99 million from such political action committees, prompting a sharp rebuke from his Democratic opponent, Nate Shinagawa.
“With almost 60 percent of his contributions coming from corporate PACs, compared to over 80 percent of my contributions coming from individuals, who do you think will best represent working families and the middle class in this district?” asked Shinagawa, vice chairman of the Tompkins County Legislature.
In response, Reed campaign spokesman Tim Kolpien said: “We are proud of the deep support we have from individual contributors. We have raised more money from individuals than our opponent has raised from individuals, PACs and Act Blue combined.”
Act Blue is a Democratic fundraising group that has helped many Democrats become financially viable, which is just what Shinagawa has become, raising $709,727 for the campaign as of Oct. 17.
Shinagawa also noted that an AFL-CIO poll this week that showed him within five points of Reed.
While the fundraising documents showed Republican Mike Madigan far behind Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, they reveal a competitive race between Slaughter and the Monroe County executive, Republican Maggie Brooks.
Slaughter – who has represented sections of Buffalo for the past decade – had raised $1.97 million for her re-election bid as of Oct. 17, and Brooks raised $1.32 million.
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