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Long IslandPolitics

Steve Bellone has $1.6 million to John Kennedy's $235,000 in Suffolk executive race

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has $1.6 million on hand in his bid for reelection while Republican challenger John M. Kennedy Jr. has $235,000 just a month before Election Day, according to new campaign filings.

Bellone’s largest expense — $300,000 to communications firm Ethica Media LLC — exceeded Kennedy’s current war chest of $235,416, the filings show.

Bellone, a Democrat, has a fundraising advantage from his eight years in office, Kennedy campaign manager Dean Murray said.

“This isn’t about who can raise more money,” Murray said. “This is all about reaching the voters with the obvious message that the Bellone administration has absolutely buried this county in a fiscal disaster.”

Bellone campaign manager Derek Poppe said, “This filing clearly shows that Suffolk residents are eager to continue the county executive’s record of real reform, historic low crime rates, improving water quality and protecting taxpayers.”

Bellone took in $424,019 and spent $837,648.28 since July, according to his 32-day pre-general report, covering mid-July to Sept. 30.

Kennedy collected $153,095 and spent $127,768.70 in the same time period.

Bellone received nearly 60% of his donations from individuals, while political action committees and other political funds accounted for about half Kennedy's donations.

Bellone received $247,513 from individuals, $24,300 from corporate donors and $147,856 from political action committees and limited liability corporations, his filings show.

Kennedy, the Suffolk County comptroller, received $56,270 from individuals, $22,275 from corporate donors and $74,550 from political action committees, political funds and limited liability corporations.

The Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association was Bellone’s largest donor, contributing $20,000. Bellone received donations from other county unions, including $9,356 from the Suffolk County Correction Officers Association and $7,500 from the Superior Officers Association.

The Bellone administration negotiated new contracts for several employee unions this year, saying the agreements will save $40 million annually by requiring all county workers to contribute to their health coverage.

The PBA’s new contract is expected to raise pay of officers with 15 years on the job to more than $200,000 by 2024 including overtime and benefits.

Kennedy’s biggest donation was $25,000 from the Suffolk County GOP.

His next biggest donation was $10,000 from the Better Long Island Political Action Committee, which has donated primarily to Republican campaigns this year. The PAC is registered at a Centerport home owned by James C. Ricca, an attorney specializing in real estate and financial law who is not registered to any political party. Ricca did not return a call for comment.

Kennedy also received $1,100 from the Superior Officers Association and $1,100 from the Suffolk County Detectives Association Inc.

Several developers contributed to Bellone’s campaign. Wyandanch Rising developers Russell and Christopher Albanese donated a total of $5,000. Canoe Place Inn developer R Squared LLC and the Long Island Builders PAC each gave $5,000.

Kennedy's corporate donors each gave $2,000 or less to his campaign. 

The filings also show that several county employees have worked on the campaigns since July.

Deputy County Executive Jon Kaiman and Jason Elan, Bellone's communications director, received $15,000 and $10,000 respectively in compensation from Bellone's reelection campaign. Kaiman also received reimbursements totaling $5,940.31.

Lisa Black, chief of staff for Bellone’s administration, received a reimbursement of $111.31.

Kennedy’s campaign paid $10,000 in consulting fees to Ali Nazir, a legislative aide to Kennedy’s wife, Legis. Leslie Kennedy (R-Nesconset). Nazir also was reimbursed $268.37.


Steve Bellone (D):

Cash-on-hand: $1,605,666

Expenses: $837,648

Contributions: $424,019

John M. Kennedy Jr. (R):

Cash-on-hand: $235,416

Expenses: $127,769

Contributions: $153,095

Source: New York State campaign finance reports for the period from mid-July to Sept. 30

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