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Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone raised $500,000 for his annual golf outing at Bethpage State Park Monday, according to a top aide, but no one took him up on his new offer to play a very private nine holes on an empty course with donors willing to pay $45,000.
Bellone spokesman Justin Meyers said several donors were willing to "max out" contributions to the state limit of $45,805 for a countywide race, but "no one expressed interest" in playing a private game with the county executive before the start of the sold-out afternoon golf outing.
"When folks go to donate it's not about the golf -- they want to see the county executive re-elected," said Meyers. "Our goal is to raise enough money to run an effective campaign countywide which is very expensive. We want to get our message out about how the county executive is creating jobs, an innovative economy and protecting our drinking water."
Because the golf event had already sold out, Meyers said campaign officials have asked some big donors to time their contributions closer to Election Day. He declined to disclose the number of contributors willing to max out donations or their identity.
Republicans earlier had field day with Bellone solicitation for the golf fundraiser. Suffolk GOP chairman John Jay LaValle said Bellone's golf is so bad "I wouldn't pay 45 cents to play with him."
GOP county executive candidate James O'Connor said Monday, "I think it will be interesting to compare the 500 donors today along with those who do business with Suffolk County and are the recipients of sweetheart municipal contracts," O'Connor said. "If elected, the only ones I will owe are the Suffolk County taxpayers."
Instead of the private golf game, Meyers said Bellone spent the morning meeting with staff on his proposed "I-Zone," to make Nicolls Road a rapid bus transit route connecting Stony Brook University and Hospital with downtown Patchogue with rail connections to Brookhaven National Laboratory and the Ronkonkoma Hub and Long Island MacArthur Airport.