New York Governor Kathy Hochul speaks as she faces off...

New York Governor Kathy Hochul speaks as she faces off with New York Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Congressman Tom Suozzi, D-N.Y., during a New York governor primary debate at the studios of WNBC4-TV, Thursday June 16, 2022, in New York. Credit: Craig Ruttle

ALBANY — Several Democratic and Republican candidates seeking their party’s nomination for governor and lieutenant governor in Tuesday’s primary have attracted hundreds of thousands of dollars in late campaign contributions that can fund hard-fought final rounds in their contests.

Donors who contribute late in primary and general elections are motivated by many factors the public doesn’t often see, political strategists said, such as a campaign’s internal polling that shows a candidate surging or faltering or the desire to back a likely primary winner who, if elected, can sway government policy and spending.

“I think people want to get on the radar of whoever is going to win,” said George Arzt, a political adviser and former journalist and spokesman for former New York City Mayor Ed Koch. “They may have been undecided at first, or waiting, and now they are putting down their bets.”

The biggest recipient of the contributions from mid-June to Wednesday is Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul, who faces a primary against Rep. Tom Suozzi and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

Hochul, of Buffalo, received $596,813 in campaign contributions from June 13 to Tuesday, according to state Board of Elections records. The donors were CEOs and entrepreneurs, law firms and New York City’s largest public employee union, District 37 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Those contributions add to an already large lead in campaign contributions over Suozzi, of Glen Cove, and Williams, of Brooklyn.

Hochul’s lieutenant governor and running mate, former Hudson Valley Rep. Antonio Delgado, received $259,800 during the period. Donors include real estate developers and hotel and transportation worker unions, according to state records.

He faces a challenge from Ana Maria Archila and Diana Reyna in the Democratic primary. In New York, the lieutenant governor candidates run separately from the governor candidates in primaries. The winner of the lieutenant governor primary will become the running mate for his or her party’s nominee for governor.

During the mid-June to Wednesday period, Reyna received $10,000 and Archila received $7,000. The donations for each candidate were from individuals. Reyna is a New York City councilwoman running with Suozzi. Archila is a progressive activist running with Williams.

In the Democratic primary for governor, Suozzi received $83,500 during that period, according to state records. They include $10,000 from the Rent Stabilization Association, the largest advocate for landlords and other housing property owners in New York City.

On the Republican side of the governor’s race, former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino received $99,500, including $50,000 from business owner and developer Thomas J. Tisch.

Astorino faces Rep. Lee Zeldin of Shirley, who has the support of most GOP county and state leaders; former Trump administration adviser Andrew Giuliani; and business owner Harry Wilson.

Wilson received $33,202 during the period, including $10,000 from business owner James Keller of Shelter Island. Wilson already had millions of dollars more in campaign contributions because he lent his campaign $12 million from the money he amassed turning faltering businesses around.

No late contributions so far have been reported for Zeldin or Giuliani on the Republican side or Williams in the Democratic primary.

Contributions also were sent directly to state parties, which can then use them to support candidates of their choosing. The state Republican Committee received $152,300, including $100,000 from New Jersey banker Vernon Hill. The state Democratic Committee received $280,950, including political action committees representing trial lawyers, automobile dealers, unions and the Rent Stabilization Association.

“When you get close to a deadline, it sort of makes up your mind,” Arzt said. “People want to get into the action and put their money down.”

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