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Ed Romaine outpaces rival in fundraising

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Mark Lesko is stepping down

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Mark Lesko is stepping down to become director of a non-profit group.

The Republican candidate for Brookhaven Town supervisor is outraising his Democratic rival by about a 3-1 ratio, with less than a month until election day.

According to campaign finance reports, Republican Ed Romaine raised about $147,649 as of Wednesday. Democratic candidate Brian Beedenbender raised in the same period about $49,235, of which $5,635 was in-kind services. Romaine spent $5,000 and had $142,648 cash on hand, while Beedenbender spent $7,101 and had $43,711 on hand.

Despite the gap in their war chests, Beedenbender, chief of staff to former supervisor Mark Lesko, said he's confident in his campaign.

"How you spend your money is more important than how much you have," said Beedenbender, who also served as county legislator from 2007 to 2010. "We have more than enough money to do it and we're going to win."

Marc Alessi, chairman of the Brookhaven Democratic Committee, said Beedenbender's fundraising would be enough to elect him. "We're confident we have the resources to execute it," he said.

Romaine, a county legislator from Center Moriches and former county clerk, said his decades in politics have made it easy to raise money.

"The one thing is, when you're around a long time you know a lot of people," he said.

Jesse Garcia, head of the Brookhaven GOP, said the lead in fundraising was a "great sign."

"It shows energy and the level of support," Garcia said

Among Beedenbender contributors are Zabdiel Blackman, a prominent Democratic donor who is a partner in the tech firm Sidney B. Bowne and Sons. He gave $1,500.

Union donations include $300 from the New York State Ironworkers, $300 from the UA Steamfitters Local Union 638, and $300 from Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW. The estate of developer Nathan Serota donated $2,000 to Beedenbender.

Developer Mark Baisch of Rocky Point donated $1,500 to Beedenbender's campaign, as well as two donations, $1,000 and $5,000, to Romaine.

Other notable Romaine donors are the Friends of Dan Panico campaign, which donated $10,000, and the Friends to Elect Tim Mazzei campaign, which donated $5,000. Panico and Mazzei are current Brookhaven Town Board members and Republicans.

Cecile Forte, who ran for the supervisor seat in 2011, donated $200. Romaine also received $5,000 from the Suffolk County Association of Municipal Employees' political action committee, and $1,000 from the Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association.

The election is Nov. 6.

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