A quick summary of 2016 campaign financials

Candidates for public office in New York State were required to file their last 2016 financial reports by December 5th. New reports will be available for all campaign committees in mid-January. One of the interesting things to note is the large sums of money that many candidates and their families loaned and donated to their campaigns.

Here is a summary of what was raised and spent in several key local races:

Erie County District Attorney

DA-elect John Flynn had a substantial election victory when all was said and done, winning a three-way Democratic primary while losing the Conservative primary. All told Flynn raised a total of $524,785 and spent nearly all of that amount. His campaign is left with a small consulting bill to be paid. He did not loan his committee any money.

Flynn’s Republican opponent in November, Joe Treanor, raised and spent $50,000. He loaned his committee the $50,000. The Erie County Republican Committee also helped with his TV commercials.

Michael Flaherty, the interim DA who lost the Democratic primary, raised $415,192 and spent $362,256. His committee’s post-primary financial report showed a balance of $52,551, but outstanding loans of $109,000. The balance will likely go to loan repayment when we see his final report in January.

Mark Sacha raised and spent $24,414 in his unsuccessful primary campaign.

All told, the four candidates for Erie County District Attorney spent $961,200.

State Senate, 60th District

This legislative district attracted a lot of attention statewide because of the possibility that it might affect control of the State Senate. After the election there are 32 Democrats and 31 Republicans in the Senate, but one Democrat caucuses with the Republicans and the seven-member breakaway Independent Democratic Conference likely will continue to affiliate themselves with the Republicans.

Both parties had hard-fought primaries for this seat. Chris Jacobs defeated Kevin Stocker to win the Republican line, while Amber Small won the Democratic primary besting Al Coppola.

The complete campaign, including the primaries, was the most expensive one in Western New York. The state parties’ apparatuses as well as other interested groups poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into this election.

Just looking at what the candidates’ own committees spent, the total was $1,595,457. Of that amount, Jacobs alone spent $1,320,060. That’s more than five times the $258,213 spent by Small. Small originally loaned her committee $24,000, which was repaid. Her committee reports a negative balance of $6,925 as of December first.

Jacobs loaned his committee $200,000.

State Assembly, 145th District

In a race that would have no impact in the control of the Assembly, Angelo Morinello defeated Democratic incumbent John Ceretto in the Niagara County-based district. Both candidates’ campaigns were heavily financed by their respective Assembly party campaign committees.

Ceretto’s campaign cost $395,877 through the October 24th financial filing. As of the morning of December 8th, there is no final financial report on file for Ceretto (due December 5th).  Morinello’s complete 2016 spending was $284,454.

Both campaigns combined spent a total of $680,762, plus whatever John Ceretto’s campaign spent after October 24th. While the Republicans picked up a seat, Democrats still control the 150 member Assembly with more than 100 seats in their ranks.

State Supreme Court

The five-way race for two Supreme Court seats in the 8th Judicial District ended in victory for Republicans Mary Slisz and Daniel Furlong, defeating Democrats Lynn Wessel Keane and Grace Hanlon. The Working Families Party, in a deal involving a Long Island congressional race, also ran a New York City attorney in this District.

Mary Slisz spent $241,349. She loaned her committee $175,000.

Daniel Furlong, as of October 24th, spent $272,743 on his successful election.  As of the morning of December 8th, there is no final financial report on file for Furlong (due December 5th).  . He loaned his campaign $250,000.

Lynn Keane spent a total of $259,028. She and her family loaned her committee $100,000.

Grace Hanlon’s campaign spent $214,825. Loans and donations from Hanlon and family members amounted to $87,000.

Kenneth Schaeffer, the New York City lawyer running on the Working Families line, has no financial report on file with the State Board of elections as December 8th.

Total spending for this election of two Supreme Court justices was $987,951 plus whatever additional spending Furlong might report. A total of $525,000 was loaned or donated by the candidates and family members in this race. Judicial races have become primarily self-funded operations.

There are some interesting factors that influenced how this race for two Supreme Court seats was won. Another blog posting in the next several days will provide some analysis.