With primaries just 8 weeks away, candidates start showing their hands — Small update

The third primary election in New York State in 2016 takes place on September 13th, just eight weeks from now. Petitions filings last week set the line-ups, and now financial disclosures show how serious the respective candidates may be.

July 11th was the cut-off date for information to be contained in the campaign financial reports that needed to be filed by July 15th. This post will be updated if additional information is filed with the State Board of Elections for the stragglers.

Here is a run-down of the key races in Western New York this year and reported information on the candidates’ financials as of July 15th.

Erie County District Attorney. There is a three-way Democratic primary for the office, including party endorsed candidate John Flynn, Acting District Attorney Michael Flaherty and Mark Sacha. Joe Treanor has no challenger for the Republican nomination. Here are the numbers:

  • Flaherty started out the year with a huge financial advantage, borrowing and raising his way to more than $300,000 in January. A total of $140,000 was loaned from himself, his family and campaign operative Jim Eagan. Flaherty’s latest report includes an additional $21,479 raised, and cash on hand of $248,487. Notable expenditures include $22,400 paid to consultant Rich Horner and $2,000 to Urban Vision. Eagan was reimbursed $497 for domain names, which may have included the one he purchased in John Flynn’s name. A number of people were paid to circulate petitions. A donation of $500 from Thomas Eoannou was returned.
  • Flynn had a successful financial run since he got into the race in February, raising $188,090. His cash on hand totals $151,623.
  • Sacha trails far back in the financial sweepstakes thus far, having raised only $14,250, including $10,000 of his own money. He has $7,113 available as of July 11. Brian Nowak, who led the local Sanders effort, has been paid $5,000, reportedly for petition circulation.
  • Treanor is getting off to a slow start, having loaned his campaign $3,000 thus far.  He has not raised any money, and has a balance of $1,834 in his treasury.

60th Senate District. Incumbent Marc Panepinto is not seeking re-election. This race might impact control of the State Senate. There will be both Republican (Kevin Stocker vs. Chris Jacobs) and Democratic (Amber Small vs. Al Coppola) primaries.

  • Jacobs’ campaign account leads this group. He has raised $195,356 for the campaign. He also transferred $100,000 from his County Clerk campaign account and loaned his committee $200,000. Jacobs had $463,157 available on July 11.
  • Stocker’s report shows that he is once again self-funding his campaign effort. The report he filed shows that his committee has outstanding loans from himself totaling $344,579, dating back to 2014. Stocker’s account currently has $7,853 on hand.
  • Small update, July 18.  Amber Small raised $101,137, a good amount even though it included $24,500 of her own money and another $24,000 that she loaned her committee.  There are a large number of small donations.  Her balance is $58,610.
  • Coppola once again appears to be operating on a shoe-string, with a reported balance of $10,730 mostly left from previous campaign efforts. He only raised $163 since January.
  • And then there is Panepinto. Even though he is leaving office at the end of the year, he has $77,090 in his campaign treasury. During the past six months he repaid a $50,000 loan to himself; reimbursed himself $6,250 for expenses; refunded $25,500 to four different unions; paid $25,000 to New York and Albany law firms; and paid $11,000 to a New York City political consulting firm.

143rd Assembly District. Incumbent Angela Wozniak is not seeking re-election. There is a two-way Democratic primary for the seat, matching law professor Monica Wallace against Pigeon-election committee treasurer Kristy Mazurek.

  • Wallace has raised $60,419 thus far, and has $45,808 on hand.
  • Mazurek had no financial report on the State Board of Elections website as of July 18th at noon.   And she has campaign treasurer experience!

State Supreme Court

When the year started out it was expected that there would only be one Supreme Court seat available in the 8th Judicial District. The resignation of Justice John Michalek opened a second seat. Rumors continue to circulate about one or more other judges being drawn into the Pigeongate probe, but for the moment we are only discussing the two seats currently available.

Democrat Lynn Keane and Republican Mary Slisz have both pretty much locked up support for nomination by their respective parties. The question at the moment is whether the Democratic and Republican leadership will consider cross-endorsing Keane and Slisz, a bit of a sticky political proposition after the Michalek resignation, or whether each party will nominate two candidates. The judicial conventions occur in late September.

Here is the financial information about the two current contenders:

  • Mary Slisz has $203,101 in her campaign account, with the majority of the money ($175,000) coming from her own loan to her campaign committee. She raised $53,298.
  • Lynn Keane’s report shows a balance of $123,325. She loaned her committee $50,000 and has raised $86,448.

Some other campaign accounts

Just bringing things up-to-date, here is information about some other campaign accounts that this blog has previously reported on:

  • U.S. Department of Justice employee Denise O’Donnell, who considered running for state attorney general in 2006 but did not do so, still has $300,542 in her 2006 campaign account. O’Donnell’s proposed nomination for federal district judge was withdrawn earlier this year. Other than the tens of thousands of dollars used to finance her husband’s re-election campaign and to pay her son consultant fees, no major expenses were ever paid out of the account.   Maintaining a six figure campaign account for ten years for a race that was never run seems insulting to the folks who donated in support of the attorney general race in 2006.
  • Steve Pigeon’s WNY Progressive Caucus is still technically alive but dormant – at least in the eyes of the State Board of Elections.
  • Justice Frank Sedita III has failed to file any financial reports for his fall 2015 judicial election campaign, an apparent violation of the Election Law. Sedita’s DA campaign account, however, remains active, with a balance of $4,251. He spent $3,794 with a New York City firm for “legal counsel for campaign.” He made $4,074 in expenditure refunds and $13,150 in contribution refunds, mostly to law firms.
  • The Right Democratic Team, a Cheektowaga-based committee, continues to ignore reporting requirements, filing nothing since September 2015.