ALBANY - Gov. David A. Paterson's election campaign was dealt a blow Friday with fundraising reports showing Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, a presumptive primary challenger, receiving three times more money since July.
Paterson raised $2.2 million in the past six months to Cuomo's $6.8 million. The Democratic governor has about $3 million left in his campaign treasury and Cuomo has $16.1 million.
The difference in amounts, experts said, reflects the belief among many Democrats that Paterson cannot win in November despite an upswing in poll numbers.
"The money is really very crucial because it indicates Paterson doesn't have a great deal of support," said Jeffrey Stonecash, a politics professor at Syracuse University. "People will say to him, 'Come on, you need to get out of the race.' But he shows no signs of going easily."
Paterson aides acknowledged the challenge, with past gubernatorial bids topping $30 million. They promised an aggressive strategy built around the theme of Paterson standing up to the legislature for the public good.
"With rising poll numbers, growing recognition of his strong leadership in tough times and a clearly articulated plan to rebuild New York, I share the governor's confidence that our campaign will raise what we need to win," said campaign manager Richard Fife.
The Cuomo campaign did not return a call seeking comment. As recently as last week, Cuomo said he was again running for attorney general.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy has $4.1 million. But Levy, a Democrat, knows he will need far more if he decides to seek the Executive Mansion and plans to test his fundraising prowess next month.
Among Republicans, former Rep. Rick Lazio of Brightwaters raised $1.2 million in the past six months and has $659,032 on hand. Erie County Executive Chris Collins, who is mulling a bid, has $1 million.
In the race for comptroller, incumbent Thomas DiNapoli of Great Neck has $1.3 million on hand after raising $2.1 million in the past 18 months. That's below the $7 million he has said he needs to be competitive. "We're going to raise what we need to win in November."
Anticipating Cuomo will run for governor, former state insurance commissioner Eric Dinallo and Manhattan lawyer Sean Coffey have declared their candidacies for attorney general. Both Democrats reported having more than $1 million. Ditto for Assemb. Richard Brodsky (D-Westchester), who is considering a run. Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice, another Democrat who is exploring a bid, has $2.4 million in her treasury.