Three possible Democratic challengers for Nassau County executive have released fundraising totals for the first half of 2012, but only District Attorney Kathleen Rice appears to have amassed a war chest capable of mounting a countywide race, according to state election filings.
Rice, who has not disclosed any political plans, raised $1.02 million, just under the total brought in by County Executive Edward Mangano. The Friends of Kathleen Rice committee ended the period with almost $2 million, about $73,000 less than Mangano, a Republican. The election is in November 2013.
Two other candidates who have discussed running for county executive raised smaller sums, according to filings with the State Board of Elections.
Nassau County Legis. David Denenberg (D-Merrick), also re-elected last year, raised nearly $48,000 and spent $19,000, and had $61,000 on hand.
County Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs said candidates likely need $1.5 million for a primary and another $2 million for a general election campaign.
While politicians and others in Nassau have talked about Rice as a possible county executive candidate, she remained mum about her future.
Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin does not expect Rice to run for county executive. "Kathleen Rice is clearly happy serving residents as district attorney, but may be gearing up to run for federal or statewide office as many contributions are from donors outside of Nassau County," he said.
Said Eric Phillips, Rice's senior campaign adviser: "Mr. Mangano is certainly right that the district attorney loves serving Nassau, and while it's flattering they speak of her in the context of such promotions, she's not interested in getting into a political back-and-forth about the significance of the addresses of each other's donors. She's busy at work."
Rice can legally use her campaign funds for a statewide race, but not for a federal election.
Among Rice's contributors were local, state and national labor unions. The Nassau Correction Officers Political Action Committee gave Rice $5,750 while New York State Laborers gave $7,500. Other Rice contributors included developer Donald Trump, $10,000; New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon, $5,000; Queens Democratic leader Rep. Joseph Crowley, $2,000; Helmut Huber, husband of actress Susan Lucci, $500; author Nelson DeMille, $200; and Nassau Interim Finance Authority board member Robert Wild, who along with his wife, Judith, together contributed $7,000.
NIFA, a state monitoring board that controls Nassau's finances, does not prohibit members from making political contributions. "Kathleen Rice is a terrific DA and I support her continuing efforts," Robert Wild said.
Kaiman, who said he is mulling a run for county executive, raised the bulk of his funds from residents and businesses in North Hempstead. Contributors included firms that have had contracts with the town, including Cameron Engineering; which contributed $1,000 and Armedeo Gabrielli, vice president of Gabrielli Truck Sales, who also gave $1,000.
"North Hempstead has a public procurement process that requires a competitive RFP, public hearings and a public vote," said Kaiman spokesman David Chauvin. "The campaign and the supervisor adhere to all disclosure laws."
Denenberg, who did not return calls for comment but previously said he is considering a run for county executive, received contributions from unions including the Nassau Police Benevolent Association, $2,000, and the Long Island Federation of Labor, $500. Former Long Island Power Authority chief Richard Kessel gave $150.
Cablevision Systems of New York PAC gave Kaiman $500. The Bethpage company owns Newsday.
Campaign finance reports:
Total receipts: $1,031,421
Miscellaneous receipts: $1,464
Total expenditures: $256,000
Closing balance: $1,977,966
Total receipts: $22,200
Total expenditures: $78,825
Closing balance: $334,466
Total receipts: $47,886
Total expenditures: $19,007
Closing balance: $61,321
Reports cover the period Jan. 1-June 30
Source: State Board of Elections