TODAY'S PAPER
71° Good Morning
71° Good Morning
OpinionColumnistsMark Chiusano

Congressional campaign fundraising back in full swing in New York

Credit: Getty Images/cmannphoto

Here’s a sign of some kind of normalcy in New York: full-throated end-of-quarter fundraising appeals in hot congressional races. 

Over the course of this final week of July, candidates on both sides of the aisle in New York’s 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts have been spamming inboxes with offers to double or even triple donations, plus warnings about being “$36,000 short of our July digital fundraising goal.” Can you help? Can you chip in? 

In an age of fundraising consultants and easy digital donation methods, that’s business as usual for Democrats and Republicans in nationally-watched races. And if you needed a hint of the level of competition in the fight to replace Pete King, the Cook Political Report on Friday shifted CD2 from Lean R to Toss Up.

The return of nerve-jangling fundraising broadsides is a shift from this spring, when the candidates were careful to strike a quieter tone while the coronavirus was raging in New York.

CD1 incumbent  Lee Zeldin, for example, sent out an email at the end of the first quarter encouraging people to donate to food banks. Then-Democratic hopeful Perry Gershon promised to match contributions with donations to local charities. 

And Assemb. Andrew Garbarino, in the middle of his successful CD2 primary for the GOP nod, attached a disclaimer to fundraising emails: “I know this is a challenging time for many Americans, especially those who may be facing medical and economic uncertainty. If you would like to temporarily pause hearing from us then click here.”

That notice came out sometime in June, Garbarino said. 

Some candidates are still using a softer tone even with lower COVID-19 rates on Long Island. CD3 Incumbent Tom Suozzi, who does not have as competitive a race as some of his neighbors, on Monday sent out a fundraising email about “An Unusual Birthday Party in the Time of Coronavirus.”

“I know these are trying times for many of you,” the email said in part. “Unfortunately, I still have to raise money for my general election, which is less than 100 days from today. This is a necessity when running for public office, and I hope you understand why I am reaching out at this time.” 

The email promised three birthday parties in one day, all masked and outdoors and distanced. 

The invitation was careful to note that even the morning slot will feature cake.

Columns