Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone for the first time has sent out a direct-mail bid to raise campaign funds, although he drew fire for it from potential rivals.
“I’ve run marathons, but next fall I’m running for the most important race in my life one that affects the future of our county,” said Bellone, a Democrat who is up for re-election to a third term this fall.
His solicitation came in a four-color envelope with a photo of the county executive on the front and back. Inside is a page-and-a half letter with three more pictures of Bellone, executive, seeking donations from $25 to $5,000 or more.
In his letter, Bellone said he has made “tough choices,” saving hundreds of millions of dollars by streamlining the county workforce, cutting his own pay and helping pay for his own benefits.
He also says he has battled “the culture of corruption,” pointing to his firing of police chief James Burke, who was convicted on federal charges of deprivation of civil rights and conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice.
Suffolk Comptroller John Kennedy, a Republican who is mulling a county executive race, criticized Bellone for “sending out a political mailing that is a whole cloth fabrication.” Bellone has let Suffolk’s bond rating sink repeatedly, resulting in increased interest costs, Kennedy said.
“We’re sinking; we’re drowning and he’s doing nothing,” Kennedy said. “If he spent half the time running the county as he does putting out fake news, we’d only be half as bad off as we are now.”
Kennedy is holding $150-a-head fundraiser Jan. 23 at Windows on the Lake in Ronkonkoma to celebrate his narrow victory to a second term last fall.
Suffolk County Legis. Robert Trotta (R-Fort Salonga), who also is weighing a county executive run, called Bellone “the guy who stood by Burke four years, even after he was on the cover of Newsday for having sex with prostitutes."
Trotta appeared to be referring to an October 2013 cover story about a 1995 internal affairs probe that found Burke, as a police officer, twice lost his police-issued service weapon at the same time that he carried on a sexual relationship with a woman who had a criminal record.
Jason Elan, Bellone’s spokesman, said the mailing went to “thousands of supporters,” but declined to be more specific or detail how much the mailing cost.
Elan also declined to respond directly to attacks from possible Republican opponents.
“While Trotta remains the GOP front-runner for county executive, it’s anyone’s guess who will be their nominee,” said Elan.