Candidates and committees were required to file campaign financial reports with the state Board of Elections on January 15. Incumbents generally continue to pile up the cash. In past years it was not unusual for candidates to be late with their filings, but all of the local candidates listed here are up-to-date.
Here is a quick summary concerning the cash on hand, some fundraising information, and notable expenditures of Western New York state legislators, plus some other potential 2020 candidates:
- State Senator George Borrello (57th District)—Balance: $3,281
- State Senator Pat Gallivan (59th District) – Balance: $23,758
- State Senator Chris Jacobs (60th District) – Balance: $107,178; $1,500 donation to the Monroe County Republican Committee; $5,000 donation to Republican Cheryl Dinolfo, candidate for Monroe County Executive. Monroe County is not in the 60th Senate District. Jacobs is a candidate for Congress in NY27, which includes a portion of Monroe County.
- State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer (61st District) – Balance: $861,032. $93,525 raised since July 11, 2019. Ranzenhofer is retiring at the end of 2020.
- Republican Erie County Legislator Ed Rath, who has announced his candidacy for the 61st District, has $37,425 in his County Legislature campaign account, which he can transfer to a campaign for State Senate.
- Senator Robert Ortt (62nd District) – Balance: $139,609. Ortt’s committee donated $1,000 to Republican Erie County Executive candidate Lynne Dixon; $500 to the Clarence Republican Party; his Senate district does not extend into Erie County. He spent a total of $17,500 with two Republican political consulting firms in the Washington area, suggesting some possible congressional campaign connection. Ortt is a candidate for Congress in NY27.
- Former Senator and potential 2020 candidate for Senate (62nd District) George Maziarz – Balance: $558,242
- Senator Tim Kennedy (63rd District) – Balance: $965,504. Raised $325,193 since July 11, 2019.
- Assemblyman Stephan Hawley (139th District): Balance $115,052. Hawley is a potential candidate for Congress in NY27.
- Assemblyman Robin Schimminger (140th District) – Balance: $418,057. Raised $3,896 since July 11, 2019. Schimminger is retiring at the end of 2020.
- Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples (141st District) – Balance: $197,136. Raised $129,656 since July 11, 2019.
- Assemblyman Patrick Burke (142nd District) – Balance: $41,903
- Assemblywoman Monica Wallace (143rd District) – Balance: $84,597
- Assemblyman Michael Norris (144th District) – Balance: $118,695
- Assemblyman Angelo Morinello (145th District) – Balance: $47,579
- Assemblywoman Karen McMahon (146th District) – Balance: $17,704
- Assemblyman David DiPietro (147th District) – Balance: $36,390
- Assemblyman Joseph Giglio (148th District) – Balance: $6,021
- Assemblyman Sean Ryan (149th District) – Balance: $40,906. Ryan is a candidate for Senate in the 60th District. He transferred $112,211 from his Assembly campaign account to his Senate account, which has a balance of $374,155.
- Assemblyman Andy Goodell (150th District) – Balance: $50,781. No money raise in the past six months.
One other account worth noting is that of Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw, who is potentially a candidate for Congress in NY27. In Mychijliw’s July 15, 2019 financial report there were items included that appeared to be related to travel to Washington, and Mychajliw has publically reported meetings in Washington concerning has possible congressional candidacy. He had a campaign balance of $68,467 in July 2019. He had $22,487 as of January 11, 2020.
The new January 2020 report also includes expenses for air travel to Washington and meals at DC area restaurants in August 2019. The state-reported Taxpayers for Stefan account also includes an expenditure of $22,500 to a Salt Lake City, Utah consulting firm, Arena. $10,000 was refunded by Arena to the Mychajliw account in November 2019 “for services not rendered.” Arena’s website includes campaign work for a variety of Republican congressional candidates including Paul Ryan, Ron Johnson, Liz Cheney and Montana Senator Steve Daines. The refund suggests that Mychajliw will not be a candidate for Congress in 2020.
Campaign funds can be raised in New York State from corporations and unions for state and local candidates. Campaign funds for federal campaigns cannot be raised from corporations and unions. For that reason using money from a state account for a congressional race is generally illegal if the state account received money from corporations and unions.
As mentioned above, Chris Jacobs, Robert Ortt and Stefan Mychajliw have used money from their state campaign accounts that appear to have some relation to their potential campaigns for Congress.
By happenstance or by design of the Trump administration, the Federal Election Commission does not have sufficient membership to function, meaning that enforcement of the federal election law is basically non-existent. By law, at least four votes are required for any official Commission action. Three of the six seats on the Commission are vacant.