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Nassau DA Rice leads fundraising in potential AG race

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice (Sept. 14,

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice (Sept. 14, 2006) Credit: Newsday File / Ed Betz

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice appears to be leading the pack in fundraising among potential candidates for New York State attorney general who reported campaign finance numbers this week, a campaign spokesman said Tuesday.

Rice spokesman Eric Phillips said she has raised $1.4 million in the past 45 days, bringing her total war chest to $2.4 million.

Rice, a Democrat, has not officially announced her candidacy, but she is widely believed to be eyeing a bid for attorney general if Andrew Cuomo runs for governor. "This money is a clear indication that the DA's support is widespread and that she's capable of putting together the resources to affect real change in our state," Phillips said.

Her fundraising total eclipsed those of two other potential candidates who announced their numbers in advance of Friday's filing deadline.

Former state insurance superintendent Eric Dinallo, another potential Democratic candidate, reportedly has raised more than $1.7 million.

Assemb. Richard Brodsky (D-Westchester), who also is being eyed for a run at the seat, said he has $1.3 million in the bank.

Reached Tuesday afternoon, Brodsky said he was undaunted by the report of Rice's finances. "If reform and change are what people want from an attorney general, I think the record we bring to this is an outstanding record," he said. "It's going to be harder for people who are less well-known and with less of a record."

But according to a recent Siena Research Institute poll, Rice, 44, of Locust Valley, who has courted the local and national press throughout her first four-year term, appears to be better known than Brodsky and Dinallo. The poll found 74 percent of New Yorkers didn't know who Rice is, while 83 percent didn't know Brodsky and 88 percent didn't know Dinallo.

Rice was the only Nassau Democrat to win a decisive victory in November's election, which toppled County Executive Thomas Suozzi and the county legislature's Democratic majority.

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