Growing war chests in CD1
The Democratic race to take on Rep. Lee Zeldin in New York’s 1st Congressional District remains hot, with Bridget Fleming the latest to announce big fundraising numbers for the primary.
Fleming tells The Point her campaign raised $239,095 in a little over a month, between the end of November when she launched her candidacy and the filing deadline at the end of 2019.
The Suffolk County legislator and Noyac Democrat had to show some fundraising prowess given that opponents Perry Gershon and Nancy Goroff had a big head start in time and money.
She seems to have risen to the challenge. Goroff, a Stony Brook University scientist, self-reported more than $360,000 for the same quarter, but she was running for the whole period and thus had almost triple the amount of time.
Gershon, the East Hampton businessman who came within 4 percentage points of Zeldin in 2018, hasn’t announced quarterly sums (official filings for all candidates are due at the end of the month) but as a rough benchmark, he logged more than $440,000 in contributions in his own inaugural quarter in 2017. That was about two-and-a-half months after he filed paperwork for his candidacy, so again Fleming’s more compacted period brings her ahead.
Zeldin has not filed his last quarterly fundraising but logged more than $1 million cash on hand, as of the end of September.
“I think it's a great number," Fleming said of her fundraising. Her campaign provided documentation indicating that she received personal monetary support from influential figures like Suffolk Democratic leader Rich Schaffer and American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten.
It’s all part of a frenzy of political contributing by Democrats in a district that has been consistently competitive and expensive. This year is shaping up to be no exception, as Zeldin doubles down on support for President Donald Trump and joins the commander in chief’s impeachment defense team — a position that will surely provide more opportunities for fundraising, on both sides.
—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano
Down to the wire
One way or another, Huntington Democratic Committee members will be presented with a legal opinion Thursday evening on whether Michael Marcantonio is eligible to seek the 12th Assembly District seat recently vacated by Republican Andrew Raia.
Ever since Raia announced his run for town clerk, Marcantonio and Avrum Rosen, both lawyers, have jockeyed for the Democratic nod to seek the spot. Marcantonio was the nominee in 2018 before Republicans knocked him off the ballot for establishing residency in North Carolina while he attended Duke Law School. When Marcantonio’s run was kiboshed, Rosen stepped in late for what was likely an unwinnable race against Raia, a nine-term incumbent.
Republicans say Marcantonio is still ineligible. Suffolk Democratic Party chair Rich Schaffer, after originally trying to stay out of the fray, decided to get a legal opinion on the issue rather than risk another Marcantonio-to-Rosen relay-style baton handoff in a race Democrats could well win with Raia gone.
The attorneys have repeatedly asked for more time and more information, but Schaffer says he’ll give the Huntington committee an answer Thursday night for sure, if only to stop the full-court press from both candidates. “They are both very enthusiastic and passionate,” Schaffer said, “and they have been pressing their case hard.”
If Marcantonio is eligible, the consensus is that he’ll be the committee’s designee for a seat that is about 60 percent Huntington, 30 percent Babylon and 10 percent Islip.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has yet to call a special election for the seat.
—Lane Filler @lanefiller
No problem here
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