Fewer than 100 Republicans showed up for the first fundraiser held by GOP county executive candidate James O'Connor Monday night at Timber Point Country Club in Great River.
O'Connor described the turnout as acceptable for a "maiden voyage" and thanked those who attended for "being in on the ground floor," adding: "No one should be afraid of an uphill battle."
Earlier, he had forecast there would be about 300 for the $100-a-head event and he still hoped to raise $30,000, saying there were a number of sponsor donations that could increase the event's total.
Addressing those on hand, O'Connor said Democratic County Executive Steve Bellone is being "less than truthful" when he says he has balanced the last three budgets, noting the county has a structural deficit of $170 million and has financed those budgets by inflating revenue estimates, borrowing and one-shots. "Those are gimmicks and that's bad government," he said.
O'Connor, a lawyer and former North Hempstead town board member, said he can take on the tough issues because "I don't owe anyone anything. I only owe the Suffolk County taxpayers their rights and the services they deserve."