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Democratic congressional contender David Calone, after only eight weeks on the stump, says he has raised $505,000, more than any incumbent has ever raised in non-PAC money in any quarter in the 1st District.
Calone said his total exceeds the $457,000 that freshman Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin of Shirley raised in the first quarter of this year, and that it's also more than 25 of 26 other New York members of Congress raised in the first three months of 2015.
"I appreciate the strong showing of support for my candidacy and what I want to get done," said Calone, a venture capitalist who also is chairman of the Suffolk County Planning Commission.
Calone attributed his success to the wide network he developed in the business and volunteer community as he worked to spur jobs while protecting the Suffolk's environment. "I've had a chance to interact a with a lot of people and I think its resonated," he said.
Calone is vying for next year's Democratic congressional nomination against Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne Holst, who decided not to run for re-election this fall to make the 2016 congressional race. She has switched her registration from the Independence to the Democratic Party and won the early backing of EMILY'S List. Throne-Holst's campaign had no immediate comment.
Calone disclosed his fundraising total, but said his report will not be filed until next week because aides are still vetting it to make sure it meets all the requirements of the Federal Election Commission. He said the filing will have between 300 and 400 donors and more than half contributions were for $250 or less. He also loaned his own campaign $25,000 for start-up costs. The campaign has $470,000 on hand.
Calone, a lifelong Democrat, also announced the backing of Assemb. Steven Englebright (D-Setauket), the only Democratic member of the Assembly delegation from the 1st District. Assemb. Fred Thiele, an Independence Party member who sits with Democrats, is backing Throne-Holst.
"As a local business leader, Dave understands how to create jobs in Suffolk County,' Englebright said in a statement. "As chairman of the Suffolk County Planning Commission, he has been a leader in balancing much needed economic development with the protection of our precious Long Island natural resources.
Among Calone's donors are Bob Catell, chairman of the Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center; Larry Waldman, board chairman of the Long Island Association; Anne Shybunko-Moore, CEO of GSE Dynamics and Retail Workers Local 338, which is headed by John Durso, who also heads the Long Island Federation of Labor.
Zeldin spokeswoman Jennifer DiSiena said in a statement, "Several millions of dollars were spent against Congressman Zeldin in 2014 and the voters of NY-1 selected him by about 24 points in the Republican primary and by about 10 points in the general election against a six-term entrenched incumbent Congressman.
"With how hard Congressman Zeldin is working on local and national issues, delivering for his constituents, it will prove to be an insurmountable task to unseat someone who is doing an outstanding job to represent his district," DiSiena said. "While the Democratic Party gears up for an expensive primary, Congressman Zeldin's main focus will remain on his important work for the people of Long Island."