Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio said Wednesday that he's seen an "uptick" in his fundraising since key GOP figures - including former Gov. George Pataki and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani - endorsed him.
"Things are going well with money, and there's dozens of events that we'll be having in the next month," Lazio said in an interview at a fundraiser in Manhattan. The $250-a-head event, sponsored by Women for Lazio at the Women's National Republican Club, drew between 100 and 150 people.
Lazio has been dogged by questions about his fundraising since he revealed in a January campaign finance report that he had only about $640,000 on hand, although he had collected a total of some $1.16 million. Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, a former Democrat who also is seeking the GOP nomination for governor, reported that he had some $4 million in cash on hand.
Lazio spokesman Barney Keller said Lazio campaign officials are "very confident they'll have all the resources" they'll need for the race. Keller said fundraising had "picked up significantly" in the last few months in the wake of the Giuliani endorsement in December and Pataki's in March.
However, Keller said Lazio would not disclose more details about his fundraising until the next campaign finance report, due July 15.
At the fundraiser Wednesday, which was closed to the press, Lazio was joined by his wife, Patricia, and his mother, Olive. Lazio said the event was meant to underline the importance of women voters as a decisive factor in the gubernatorial race.
"This is about a combination of building support among critical coalitions - women represent half of the vote in New York," Lazio said in the interview.
But as the event was going on, Levy's campaign issued a statement reminding voters of Lazio's "blunder" in the 2000 U.S. Senate race that Levy said cost Lazio a victory. The release provided a link to a YouTube video clip in which Lazio walked over to Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton in a televised debate and demanded that she sign a pact to ban soft money from the campaign.