John Avlon, left, and Nancy Goroff.

John Avlon, left, and Nancy Goroff. Credit: Lynsey Addario, James Escher

Daily Point

Ex-CNN commentator collects more than $1M in Democratic primary

Will money talk politically for a former TV news show commentator in his first-time bid for political office? And will it be enough to push out his main political rival out of the Democratic primary race for the 1st Congressional District seat?

Former CNN commentator John Avlon certainly hopes so.

In Federal Election Commision filings disclosed Monday, Avlon posted a strong fund-raising total compared with his Democratic rival Nancy Goroff, leaving him with almost twice the amount of cash as Goroff for the rest of the race.

The winner of the June 25 primary election is expected to face freshman GOP incumbent Rep. Nicholas LaLota in November’s general election.

According to the quarterly reports for the period January through March, Avlon raised a total $1.135 million compared with $323,438 for Goroff. Going into the remaining weeks of the race, Avlon reported having $1.031 million cash on hand, while Goroff had $625,490, records show.

Goroff entered this year’s race before Avlon, so she has collected a total of $934,356. But that’s still a smaller total than the amount raised by Avlon.

“To raise over a million dollars in the first 40 days of the campaign is a measure of the excitement we’ve unleashed,” said Avlon, in a statement. "Democrats understand that we can’t afford to lose this fight.”

Goroff’s camp said they were pleased with their fund-raising and determined to beat Avlon, who has positioned himself as more of a centrist compared with Goroff’s strong support among party liberals, especially in the Setauket area surrounding Stony Brook University where she was once a professor. Goroff provided a substantial sum of personal money to her unsuccessful 2020 congressional race but it’s not clear if she will do so again to the same extent in this race.

“It’s a competitive primary and he’s raised a comparable amount to us,” Maggie Touchton, Goroff’s campaign manager, told The Point, comparing the totals raised by both sides. “It’s going to be an interesting race.”

Goroff gained the recent support of Emily’s List, a nationally known organization that has supported female candidates for years, but Avlon has gained many endorsements of local Democrats, including Southampton, East Hampton, Southhold and Shelter Island Democratic town committees.

Some have tried privately to persuade Goroff to drop out of the primary so Avlon could focus on beating LaLota in the fall without incurring an inter-party battle for the Democratic nomination. This week’s strong quarterly fund-raising report by Avlon is bound to fuel those hoping Goroff pulls out of the race.

But without commenting on these rumors, Touchton said Goroff is determined to remain in the race. She pointed to a number of recent fund-raisers held by Goroff and the opening of a campaign office in East Setauket, the heart of her base.

Avlon’s filings show he’s gained several donations from well-known figures in media, finance and social worlds, including Barry Diller, Joel Klein, Diane Ravitch, Jeff Bewkes, Patricia Duff, Anthony Scaramucci, Andrew Yang, James Murdoch, Connie Chung, Maury Povich, Joe Trippi, Kenneth Chenault and David Axelrod.

Many of Goroff’s donors have ties to the Stony Brook/Setauket area, including Marilyn H. Simons, a philanthropist and wife of billionaire Renaissance Technologies founder, James Simons, a prominent donor to the national Democratic Party.

— Thomas Maier

Pencil Point

Making history

Credit: CQ Roll Call/R.J. Matson

For more cartoons, visit

Final Point

Governor throws light on the budget

As Gov. Kathy Hochul wraps up the details on the overdue state budget, she spoke with the Newsday editorial board this morning to provide an initial outline of how some of it will impact Long Island. The State Legislature is not likely to vote on the budget until the end of the week and any agreements are tentative until then.

NUMC: There will be money in the budget for Nassau University Medical Center but it most definitely will come with strong strings attached such as changes in the governance of the struggling hospital. Hochul said her staff and the Department of Health were working on those details now but that it will take some time to get a plan in place.

Housing: While tough negotiations on housing have been mostly cast as a fight between New York City developers, landlords and tenants' rights groups, there are some changes that could include Long Island too. Developers here will be able to get local property tax breaks if they build housing with 20% or 100% affordable units. However communities retain local control by deciding whether to opt in to the state program.

Education: Hochul confirmed that she is punting on any changes to the foundation formula this year but she stressed her determination to make changes next year to the “hold harmless” clause, which guarantees a school district never gets less money than the year before. She said that made no sense when some districts had declining enrollment while others expanded, tacitly acknowledging Newsday's argument in an editorial that her announcement earlier this year didn’t give districts enough notice about the change.

The Rockefeller Institute will be tasked with designing a new calculus for school aid as well as how much money a district can have in “rainy day” or reserve funds before spending either the cash or returning it to taxpayers.

Crime: Hochul, consistently criticized by Republicans and some Democrats on the need to do more to fight crime, noted she got the legislature to agree to get tougher on those arrested for assaulting retail workers. The budget will also include more money on enforcing those theft laws. Also, she said the anxiety currently being felt by Long Island’s synagogues and mosques was being addressed by expanding the numbers of offenses that can be considered hate crimes, thus making the penalties harsher.

Hochul said that once the budget is finalized, she will be on Long Island to provide the details. And it’s always in the details in the budget’s language where the devil can be found.

— Rita Ciolli

Subscribe to The Point here and browse past editions of The Point here.


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months