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Singas leads Scotto in fundraising for DA primary

Acting Nassau DA Madeline Singas speaks after a

Acting Nassau DA Madeline Singas speaks after a news conference in front of the Nassau County Supreme Court in Mineola, Friday, May 29, 2015. Credit: Steve Pfost

With the Democratic primary for Nassau district attorney days away, the party's choice, Madeline Singas, continues to dominate opponent Michael Scotto in money raised -- though the underdog insists he has still gotten his message out.

Singas, the acting district attorney, brought in $107,988 between July 12 and Aug. 27, compared with $52,135 for Scotto, a former Manhattan prosecutor from Port Washington, according to the state elections board.

But because Singas collected funds at a more-significant clip early this year -- and hasn't yet spent much -- she has a far greater advantage in cash on hand: $807,027 to $12,760.

The figures encompass the 32-day pre-primary report released last month and the 11-day pre-primary reports posted Monday -- the last filing before the Sept. 10 election. The winner between Singas and Scotto will face Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray, a Republican, on Nov. 3.

"If we'd been able to raise half of what she did the whole time, and not just the last month, we'd be in great shape," Scotto said. "But I'm meeting lots of people, and every one thinks there are problems with the DA's office."

Scotto, who estimates he has handed out more than 10,000 pieces of literature, said he will soon send out his first campaign mailer targeting active voters. Singas has sent out several and has the benefit of frequent public exposure as the current top prosecutor.

"Most people have not gotten any solid messaging from Scotto," said Nassau Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs, who backs Singas. "They don't know who he is or what he stands for, because he doesn't have any money to do it."

Scotto disputed Jacobs' assessment, saying many Democrats he has met have taken to his critique of Singas as lagging in her probes of alleged political corruption in Nassau until they are reported in the media.

"For her to wake up three months before the primary and say political corruption is a problem in Nassau? Where has she really been?" Scotto asked.

Singas, who previously served as chief deputy under former District Attorney Kathleen Rice, replied that her "message is resonating because I am the only candidate for district attorney who has ever fought crime in Nassau County."

Both Scotto and Jacobs acknowledge that turnout for the primary, held on a Thursday instead of a Tuesday, will likely be less than 10 percent of the county's 363,000 registered Democrats. Jacobs said he believes the voters who come out are more likely to have heard from Singas rather than Scotto.

But Scotto said he has made sure to mention the Thursday primary date in all his contacts.

"If all you do is send mailers and don't actually see or speak to them, maybe that makes a difference," Scotto said.

Singas has spent $98,464 since July 12. Scotto spent $40,744, much of it fighting a bid to knock him off the ballot.

Murray, as of July 11, had $538,188 on hand. Because she has no primary, she will not have to file another campaign finance report until Oct. 2.

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