Republican Reps. Nick LaLota, Anthony D'Esposito and Andrew Garbarino, shown in...

Republican Reps. Nick LaLota, Anthony D'Esposito and Andrew Garbarino, shown in 2023, each have more than $1 million in campaign funds as the 2024 election season starts. Credit: Howard Schnapp

WASHINGTON — Long Island’s three Republican congressmen — Reps. Andrew Garbarino, Anthony D’Esposito and Nick LaLota — each started the 2024 campaign year with more than $1 million in the bank, which is more than any of their challengers have.

The race for campaign funds now will pick up as Democrats seeking to challenge D’Esposito and LaLota gear up for the June 25 Democratic primary while Republicans continue to pump contributions into their campaign committees.

“Long Island is one of the most expensive media markets in the country,” said Steve Israel, a former eight-term Democratic congressman from Long Island who once chaired the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“If you’re an incumbent, you’ve got to start the election year with at least $1 million on hand, so the numbers in the report are pretty much where they should be for February,” said Israel, now a bookstore owner.

“But if you’re in a highly competitive race, it’s going to take at least another million by November,” he said. “So the serious fundraising is just getting started.”

D’Esposito, of Island Park, is a top Democratic target as he seeks reelection in the 4th Congressional District in a race that political analysts rate as a toss-up because many of the voters he will face in November voted for Democratic President Joe Biden.

In the 3rd District, Democrat Tom Suozzi, of Glen Cove, and Republican Mazi Melesa Pilip, of Great Neck, will face off in a special election on Feb. 13 to replace expelled GOP Rep. George Santos.

Meanwhile, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) has outpaced her challengers in fundraising as she seeks a third term.

Here is a rundown of the state of fundraising based on the candidates’ filings from October through December 2023.

Congressional District 1

Democrat Nancy Goroff, a former Stony Brook University chemistry department chair making her second run for Congress, reported raising $610,917, compared with LaLota, of Amityville, who reported $407,008 in contributions in the last quarter.

But LaLota’s filing shows he has $1.3 million in the bank, more than twice the $529,647 Goroff reported having on hand. And LaLota does not a face a primary in which he would have to spend money to win the party nomination, as Goroff does.

LaLota reported spending $124,253, while Goroff said she disbursed $81,270.

Goroff has three competitors for the Democratic nomination.

Kyle Hill, a former congressional staffer from Port Jefferson, said he raised $153,617 and spent $27,989 and has $125,628 in cash on hand.

James Gaughran, a former state senator from Huntington, has $125,995 in the bank after raising $72,790 and spending $56,655 in the last quarter.

Craig Herskowitz, of Northport, a former New York City administrative law judge who has lent his campaign $200,000, reported raising $38,749 and spending $48,363 and has $194,836 in the bank.

CD 2

Garbarino, of Bayport, who is seeking a third term, reported that he boosted his campaign’s cash on hand to $1.4 million after raising $388,428 and spending $204,162 in the last quarter.

His challenger, Democrat Rob Lubin, of Amityville, who runs a web-based market of celebrity fashions, lent his campaign $150,000 at the end of September and reported raising $100,047 in the final quarter. He said he spent $147,510 and had $342,275 in the bank at the end of December.

CD 4

D’Esposito reported $1.2 million in cash on hand as he prepares to defend his seat after raising $366,993 in the last quarter. He spent $232,295 and has $44,119 in debts.

Democrat Laura Gillen, of Baldwin, a former Hempstead Town supervisor seeking a rematch with D’Esposito after losing to him in 2022, reported $500,838 in cash on hand after raising $252,602 and spending $143,100 in the last quarter.

Also running is state Sen. Kevin Thomas (D-Levittown), who reported he had raised $141,529, spent $106,554 and had $146,090 in the bank. He also owed $988 in legal fees.

Democrat Gian Jones, of Woodmere, a business owner and real estate professional, said he raised $375, spent $2,323 and had $2,003 in cash. He owed $2,348 to a web designer.

U.S. Senate

Gillibrand, who is seeking her third full term after serving for two years as an appointee, outraised and outspent her nine challengers by raising $1.3 million, spending $379,054 and banking $9.2 million in cash, according to her filing with the Federal Election Commission.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a lobbying group, provided nearly a quarter of her total receipts by collecting $196,479 from donors and contributing it to her campaign, Gillibrand reported.

Republican Joshua Eisen reported lending himself $300,000, spending $91,665 and having $208,335 in the bank. Five other challengers raised less than $20,000.

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