Republican congressional contender George Demos put out a release late last week, saying he now has $2.1 million in his campaign kitty, though he only logged $200,000 in contributions from individual donors in the last three months.
Kevin Tschirhart, his campaign manager, later said the $200,000 came from 250 donors, but added that Demos himself provided a second $1 million loan to his campaign coffers on top of the $1 million he and his wife put in last October when he launched his candidacy.
Demos, a former SEC attorney, will likely face off in a spring primary against second-term State Sen. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) for the right to challenge Democratic Rep. Timothy Bishop.
Tschirhart said the campaign to date has spent about $100,000, most of it on a monthlong cable TV ad, as well as expenses connected to a fundraiser featuring former New York Gov. George Pataki last month in Manhattan.
Tschirhart said Demos wanted to put fundraising numbers out early so voters could see his commitment to the spring primary contest and invited Zeldin to do the same.
Zeldin, who has the backing of much of the GOP and Conservative establishment, said he has met his fundraising goal but declined to detail the total until the Federal Election Commission's Jan. 31 deadline for filings. But he added, “Without a doubt, we have the resources to get our message out and win.”
Zeldin backers say Demos is getting funding help from his father-in-law, West Coast developer Angelo Tsakopoulos, who critics say has helped fund Democrats including Hillary Rodham Clinton and Nancy Pelosi and is a business partner of Pelosi’s husband.
"No amount of George Demos' father-in-law's money will change the fact Mr. Demos has virtually no ties to the First Congressional District,” state GOP chairman Edward Cox said. Cox added, “George Demos is committing political malpractice by interfering with Long Islanders' best shot” to beat Bishop with Zeldin.