As Nassau Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs prepares to announce his preferred candidate for county executive, he said the first fundraising reports from his party’s four contenders don’t identify a clear front-runner.
Jacobs had said previously that the first campaign finance reports of the race — filed last week for the period covering July 12 to January 13 — would be an early test of which contenders were the most viable.
But Nassau County Legis. Laura Curran, state Assemb. Charles Lavine and Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman were clustered in the same general range, bringing in between $185,000 and $252,000 each. County Comptroller George Maragos, a Republican turned Democrat, raised the least — $64,000 — but boosted his coffers with a large personal loan.
“There was no one that blew any of the others out of the water. And there was nothing, in what I saw, for criticism of any of the people,” said Jacobs, who is expected to announce his recommendation Monday.
Curran, of Baldwin, raised the most money during the period, $214,099. She transferred another $37,539 from her legislative campaign account, much of it raised last year after she began mulling a county executive bid.
Lavine, of Glen Cove, raised $150,474 and transferred another $57,000 from his assembly account.
Schnirman, who has yet to formally announce his run, raised $185,097 through his exploratory committee, Nassau Forward.
Maragos, a Locust Valley resident, raised $64,055, and loaned his campaign an additional $450,000.
After a $1 million loan last summer, Maragos has $1.5 million on hand. Curran has $230,325, the next highest total.
The Democrats’ jockeying comes as Republican County Executive Edward Mangano mulls whether to seek a third term.
In October, federal prosecutors charged Mangano with receiving “bribes and kickbacks” from a businessman who also gave Mangano’s wife a lucrative no-show job. Mangano has pleaded not guilty.
Mangano raised $267,264 during the reporting period, and has $1.2 million in campaign cash on hand, although county GOP sources have said the party is unlikely to renominate him.
No other Nassau Republicans have declared candidacies for county executive.
Jacobs said he wants to pick his candidate soon because party committeeman, labor unions and other loyal donors are urging him to do so as a signal to throw their support behind one person.
“They’ve really been holding back and do not want to hold back forever,” Jacobs said.
The campaign filings show that Schnirman, Curran and Lavine each received between $143,452 and $137,824 from individual donors, while Maragos got $34,607.
Curran also received nearly $70,000 from corporations, limited liability companies and political action committees, such as those run by labor unions, far outpacing Schnirman, Maragos and Lavine.
In a statement, Maragos said his filing “shows my independence and commitment to protect Nassau County residents. We can no longer afford politicians who are beholden to special interests.”
Curran noted that she raised most of her money in the short time frame after she announced her county executive campaign late last year.
“The overwhelming support I’ve received from our neighbors in just a few short weeks has made it clear: taxpayers are demanding an end to the culture of corruption that for too long has dominated Nassau County,” Curran said in a statement.
Lavine, who raised the least from corporations, PACs and LLCs, about $13,000, said: “I am deeply proud our campaign finance report reflects that grass roots support.”
Schnirman, who has never before held elected office, highlighted that he started without any funds from previous campaigns. “The early support and encouragement is incredible, and it’s apparent that many agree with me that new need fresh, new leadership,” he said.
Democrats eyeing bids for Nassau County executive recently filed their first campaign finance reports:
- County Legis. Laura Curran
Total Raised/Transferred: $251,638
Cash on Hand: $230,325
- Assemb. Charles Lavine
Total Raised/Transferred $207,474
Cash on Hand: $204,240
- Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman
Total Raised: $185,135
Cash on Hand: $178,686
- County Comptroller George Maragos
Total Raised: $64,055, plus $450,000 personal loan
Cash on Hand: $1,519,891
Note: Reports cover the period July 12, 2016 to Jan. 13
Source: New York State Board of Elections