Daniel Ross, Democratic candidate for the 7th Senate District, poses...

Daniel Ross, Democratic candidate for the 7th Senate District, poses for a portrait in Manhasset. (July 10, 2012) Credit: Barry Sloan

ALBANY -- Daniel C. Ross, the Democratic challenger to Sen. Jack M. Martins (R-Mineola) has yet to report any fundraising for his campaign, prompting criticism from Republicans who say he can't put together a "credible campaign" in a key Senate race.

Ross missed a July 15 state deadline for filing campaign-finance statements, but Democrat officials said Monday he soon will. Ross is expected to jump-start his campaign with his own money. If he hasn't raised more than $1,000 so far, he didn't have to file a statement in July, they said.

Ross didn't return a phone call yesterday. Nassau County Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs said he wasn't aware of Ross' campaign-finance details.

Martins has stockpiled $380,000, according to his most recent disclosure. He raised $234,000 since January. Scott Rief, a Republican spokesman, said Ross' lack of a fundraising report reflected the strength of the GOP candidate.

"It's not surprising that this last-minute candidate couldn't find the time to raise any money or put together a credible campaign," Rief said. "We've always maintained [Ross] wasn't a serious candidate and that Senator Martins would be re-elected, and it looks like the Senate Democrats agree."

Democrats nominated Ross in May after failing to land a high-profile candidate. They maintained he had "a shot" at beating Martins in his northwestern Nassau County district, a key seat in the battle for control of the state Senate.

Martins' 451-vote victory over Democrat Craig Johnson in 2010 tipped control of the Senate to the GOP. Republicans since have expanded their advantage to 33-29 after an upset win in a special election in Brooklyn. Because of Martins' narrow win, Democrats were expected to mount a strong challenge in an attempt to regain the chamber.

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