Campaign 2022 is underway as political committees file their first financial disclosure reports of the year. The numbers demonstrate, not surprisingly, that those already in a good position financially are getting even stronger.
Having a ton of money in a campaign account is good news for a candidate, but money does not necessarily lead to votes. A candidate’s credibility for the office sought, the strength and ability of a committee’s organization and even the general political climate at any given time all have a great deal to do with the potential success of the candidate. Nonetheless low bankrolls stress a candidacy while big dollar accounts are a source of comfort to political committees.
All political committees in New York State were required to file reports by January 18th for their financial transactions through January 14th. This post was last updated at 10 am on January 19th and will be edited to note information from the remaining legislators when available.
The major focus in 2022 will be on the race for governor. Both the Democratic and Republican parties have several candidates in contention now, heading into next month’s state committee conventions to select the endorsed candidates for statewide office.
As expected, Governor Kathy Hochul’s financials lead the way by a large margin. Here are the numbers for the announced Democratic candidates for governor:
- Hochul – raised $21,927,407 since July 2021. Balance in the account: $21,337,928
- Tom Suozzi – raised $3,363,101; Suozzi also transferred $2,101,573 from his congressional campaign account. Balance: $5,254,456
- Jumaane Williams – raised $221,996. Balance: $189,221
Here are the numbers for the announced or anticipated Republican candidates for governor:
- Lee Zeldin – raised $4,322,517. Balance: $5,622,103
- Rob Astorino – raised $764,205. Balance: $1,300,693
- Andrew Guiliani – raised $85,601. Balance: $188,410
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli raised $847,302 since July 2021 and has $1,760,424 in his campaign treasury. Attorney General Leticia James raised $2,020,893 and has $3,096,521 available.
A potential Democratic primary for governor may be possible but who will be the candidates? Bill DeBlasio is out. Congressman Tom Suozzi could drop out and run for re-election but he has complicated that possibility by transferring over $2 million from his congressional campaign account into his gubernatorial account. Do either Suozzi or Williams have enough support in the state Democratic committee to get them 25 percent of the vote at the state party convention? Absent that they would need to go the petition route.
A new Siena College poll reports that Hochul is favored by 46 percent of Democrats; DeBlasio had 12 percent, Williams 11 percent, and Suozzi 6 percent. It will be very hard to stop or slow down Hochul’s momentum.
It does not seem likely that there will be a Republican primary for governor as support for the “presumptive” nominee, Congressman Lee Zeldin, remains solid. Astorino and Guiliani have not gotten off the ground.
And then there is the wild card: Andrew Cuomo. His campaign committee continues to send out emails that reek of bitterness about his fall from grace. During the past six months he raised $240,306, which includes thousands raised after he resigned, mostly in small donations; spent $2,091,851, including hundreds of thousands of dollars on attorneys; and still has $16,405,354. It seems doubtful that he will spend his campaign treasury on a campaign that would try to focus on redemption but will actually look more like revenge. Perhaps the son of Hamlet on the Hudson will simply stay home (wherever that is) and brood?
State legislative races
State Senator Tim Kennedy, as expected, continues to pile up large sums of money while representing a district that is not likely to be competitive anytime soon. Other incumbent Western New York legislators have small fractions of the amount that Kennedy has. Kennedy’s cash on hand is about equal to the total cash balances of the other 16 Western New York senators and assemblymembers combined. Here is a summary:
- Senator George Borrello (R) – raised $75,300. Balance: $107,654
- · Senator Pat Gallivan (R) – raised $73,164. Balance: $110,233
- Senator Tim Kennedy — raised $553,325. Balance: $1,793,808
- Senator Robert Ortt — raised $61,343. Balance: $217,001
- Senator Ed Rath — raised $75,635. Balance: $100,935
- Senator Sean Ryan — raised $122,690. Balance: $222,025
- Assemblymember Pat Burke — raised $23,170. Balance: $62,026
- Assemblymember Bill Conrad — raised $3,000. Balance: $18,673
- Assemblymember David DiPietro –report not yet posted
- Assemblymember Andy Goodell (R)– raised $1,100. Balance: $49,770
- Assemblymember Stephan Hawley (R)– raised $25,700. Balance: $133,195
- Assemblymember Karen McMahon (D) – raised $8,075. Balance: $59,003
- Assemblymember Angelo Morinello (R) – report not yet posted
- Assemblymember Michael Norris (R)– raised $63,583. Balance: $183,823
- Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes (D) – raised $165,242. Balance: $260,476
- Assemblymember Jonathan Rivera (D) – raised $12,191. Balance: $18,085
- Assemblymember Monica Wallace (D) – raised $51,435. Balance: $102,231
The state Board of Elections’ enforcement of the law
The state Board of Elections is assigned responsibility for enforcing provisions of the Election Law. Most registered campaign committees comply with the law on a timely basis, but a handful do not. What does the BOE do about that? I asked them. Here is the email exchange:
- Politics and Other Stuff: I write a political blog (politicsandstuff.com) and occasionally write about campaign financial filings. Most committees I look at file on a timely basis but some do not. What is the state BOE’s procedure for enforcement of filing requirements? Do you only act on complaints that are submitted to the BOE? Are there penalties?
- BOE: The Division of Election Law Enforcement is charged with investigating potential violations of the New York State Election Law and other laws pertaining to elections. Many of the penalties are set forth in Election Law section 14-126, available on the New York State Board of Elections website – www.elections.ny.gov , but some are also set forth in other sections of law. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact the Public Information Officer of the State Board of Elections at email@example.com for assistance.
- POS: Does the state BOE routinely look to see if all political committees file their required financial disclosures, and if so, do you penalize those who are non-compliant?
- BOE: That is the role of the Division of Election Law Enforcement.
- POS: Can you please direct me to a database that indicates fines levied by the BOE for violations of the Election Law since January 1, 2019?
- BOE: There is no publicly available online database. If you have questions about a specific filer you can submit a Freedom of Information request as to that filer.
So in other words, if you want to know, for example, how or if Stefan Mychajliw used the remaining $30,030 in his campaign account (since he has failed to file the required November 29th report), or for that matter, some other candidate, you must FOIL it. I have submitted a FOIL request to the BOE concerning Mychajliw’s committee. I am awaiting a reply.
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