George Santos, Republican candidate for US Congress NY District 3,...

George Santos, Republican candidate for US Congress NY District 3, poses for a portrait at Bay Terrace in Bayside on Friday, June 12, 2020. -- slVOTE -- Credit: James Escher

WASHINGTON — Two dozen candidates running to represent Long Island in the U.S. House raised $6 million in the first quarter of this year in the scramble to fill three open seats as only two incumbents seek reelection, campaign finance reports filed Friday show. 

Hopefuls have launched campaigns to win their party’s nomination with robust races in the newly configured districts that cross county boundaries — and still might change — with less than three months to go until the June 28 primary election. 

Among the 20 candidates who raised money to win a vacant seat, Democrat Robert Zimmerman, with $917,000, and Republican George Santos, with $778,095, collected the most in this reporting period as they run in the 3rd District to replace Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), who is running for governor. 

Democrats also are engaged in a battle in the 1st and 4th Congressional Districts, where Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) will not seek reelection as he runs for New York governor, and where Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) chose to retire. 

Both local parties expect a competitive and expensive election. 

“First of all, it is a redistricting year. So that tends to skew things a little bit, particularly when the maps do change,” said Jay Jacobs, chairman of the Nassau County Democratic Committee. “But secondly, you would expect competitive races where there are no incumbents.”

The race for money has heated up particularly among Democrats, as Jacobs said he had no plans to endorse congressional candidates on Long Island before the primary. 

Republicans have endorsed candidates for each of the Long Island-based congressional districts, said Suffolk County Republican chairman Jesse Garcia. 

Here is a rundown of the campaign reports to the Federal Election Commission filed Friday for the period of January through to the end of March. 

1st District 

Democrats have high hopes that the redrawn boundaries that push this district into the middle of Nassau County will help them regain the seat a Democrat once held for 12 years. 

Bridget Fleming, a Suffolk County legislator, reported collecting $157,891 in contributions and having $403,448 in cash on hand.

Kara Hahn, also a Suffolk County legislator, reported that she raised $116,880 with $320,571 in the bank. 

And Jackie Gordon, a former Babylon Town Council member who unsuccessfully ran against Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-Bayport) in the 2nd District in 2020, said she raised $342,496 with $307,868 in cash on hand. 

Suffolk County Republican Party’s endorsed candidate Nick LaLota, chief of staff to the Suffolk County Legislature, reported he raised $282,198 with $266,703 in the bank.

2nd District 

No Democrat has filed to run in this district that now stretches along the South Shore from Nassau County into Suffolk County. Jacobs, however, said a Democrat will run. 

In the meantime, Garbarino said he raised $325,678 and has $1.3 million as he seeks a second term in a safe Republican district.

3rd District 

The most competitive race on Long Island appears to be this newly reconfigured district as moderates and progressives vie for the nomination. 

Among the moderates, Zimmerman, a longtime public relations executive and Democratic National Committee member, has raised $916,914 in contributions, with $750,944 unspent at the end of March. 

Democrat Josh Lafazan, a Nassau County legislator, reported raising $550,235, which included his $130,000 loan to the campaign, and had $718,869 in cash at the end of March. Democrat Jon Kaiman, Suffolk County’s deputy county executive, reported $387,544 in donations with $339,584 in cash. 

Progressive candidates Alessandra Biaggi, a Democratic state senator representing Westchester and the Bronx, reported raising $437,230 with $325,660 in the bank, and community organizer Melanie D’Arrigo, also a Democrat, raised $297,297 and had $97,260 in hand. 

Republican-endorsed candidate Santos, a managing member of his family firm Devolder Organizations, reported raising $778,095, which included his personal loan to the campaign of $500,000, and had $821,294 in the bank at the end of March in his second run for the seat. 

4th District 

Rice’s decision not to run again opened the door to another scrum among Democrats and an opportunity for a Republican to win.

Laura Gillen, a former Hempstead Town supervisor, leads the Democratic pack in fundraising, reporting she raised $255,606 and has $216,902 on hand.

Keith Corbett, Village of Malverne mayor, said he had collected $158,810 in donations and had $156,400 in the bank.

Siela Bynoe, a Nassau County legislator, said she raised $105,450 with $102,237 unspent at the end of March, and Carrié Solages, also a Nassau County legislator, reported raising $94,971 and having $81,800 in cash on hand. 

Republicans endorsed Town of Hempstead Councilman Anthony D'Esposito, who announced his run March 25 and raised $29,000, with $29,504 in cash, by the March 31 reporting deadline. He will face Bill Staniford, most recently CEO of Qira, a financial and screening program for property management, who reported raising  $274,198 with $18,961 in the bank. 

5th District 

Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-St. Albans) has raised $212,159, with $1.4 million in hand, as he runs for his 13th term in a district that includes western slices of Nassau County.

Republican Paul King, founder of the consulting firm Orion Management Group, has raised $33,630 and had $28,612 in the bank. 

Editor's note -- An earlier version of this story contained incorrect numbers for the total number raised in the first quarter and for Santos, Lafazan, Fleming, Hahn, Gordon, Garbarino and Meeks.

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