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Stefanik leads NY-21 candidates in fundraising | News, Sports, Jobs


The latest campaign finance disclosures show that, in the last quarter of 2021, over $1.5 million was given to the six candidates running for election in New York’s 21st Congressional District.

Of the six candidates, incumbent Congresswoman Elise M. Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, raised the vast majority of the $1.5 million. Between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, Rep. Stefanik’s campaign brought in $1.07 million dollars, not counting what was raised by her nationally focused organizations.

The congresswoman brought in $923,997 from individual donors during that period, and $64,700 from political action committees and other campaigns, plus nearly $89,000 in transfers into her campaign from other fundraising groups she has a stake in.

She ended 2021 with $3.1 million in cash available to spend, far outpacing the totals available to her competitors. That’s something her campaign proudly touted in a release on Tuesday.

“While all four far-left socialists had yet another abysmal fundraising quarter, Congresswoman Stefanik shattered off-year fundraising records and strengthened her support from tens of thousands of grassroots patriots across the North Country and America,” her senior adviser Alex deGrasse said.

For this election cycle, Rep. Stefanik has raised $4,549,988.

Last quarter, her campaign received funding from a number of corporate PACs. The banking group PricewaterhouseCoopers PAC provided $7,500 to her campaign, and BAE Systems, a defense contractor that develops robotic systems, donated $3,500. She also received a large amount of funds from the Jobs for A New Era PAC, which donated $25,000 to the Elise Victory Fund and transferred $10,000 to the congresswoman’s campaign in December.

The Elise Victory Fund is a joint fundraising operation that shares resources with the congresswoman’s campaign, her political action committee E-PAC and other fundraising organizations she may partner with.

The Jobs for a New Era PAC supports a number of conservative candidates across the country, in local races as small as school board seats up to U.S. Senate candidates.

Rep. Stefanik’s campaign made a number of contributions to other candidates during the last fiscal quarter as well, including a number of North Country and New York state campaigns. The campaign gave $1,000 to Steve McLaughlin, the Rensselaer County Executive who ran for reelection last year. Mr. McLaughlin was arrested in December under accusations from the state Attorney General that he used $3,500 in campaign funds to pay off personal expenses when he was a state Assemblyman.

The congresswoman’s campaign also gave $500 to Andrew Moses, who was elected St. Lawrence County Family Court judge last year, $500 to the town of Saratoga Republicans, and $300 to the state Conservative Party.

Her expenditures on campaign-related costs include $40,000 to North Country Strategies LLC., the political strategy company owned by Mr. deGrasse, and nearly $135,000 in credit card processing fees for the online fundraising platform WinRed.

Rep. Stefanik’s next-closest fundraising competition was Matt Castelli, a Democratic candidate who has picked up steam with endorsements from nearly every county Democratic committee chair and half of the North Country’s county Democratic committees. Mr. Castelli brought in $184,918 in the last quarter, all from individual donors. Four donors gave the maximum donation allowed in a primary — $5,800.

Last quarter is the second quarter in a row that Mr. Castelli has earned more than his Democratic competitors, and he ended 2021 with $289,001 in cash on hand, nearly $30,000 more than his next-closest Democratic competitor.

“While Elise Stefanik is skipping work in D.C. to raise millions of dollars in Mar-a-Lago and put her party and politics before our district, we’ve had another successful fundraising quarter demonstrating that we’re the campaign that can draw support from grassroots donors across NY-21, unite the district, and defeat Elise Stefanik,” Mr. Castelli said in a statement Wednesday.

Mr. Castelli’s campaign spent $142,107 last quarter on campaign consultants, payroll services, acquiring donor lists and hosting donor events, and also spent 2.76% of what he raised, over $5,100, on credit card processing fees for ActBlue, the Democratic online fundraising platform.

Matthew F. Putorti, a Whitehall man also seeking the Democratic nomination for NY-21, raised $181,871 in the previous quarter, just about $3,000 less than Mr. Castelli.

He only raised money from individual donors, and had two people donate the maximum amount of $5,800 to his campaign. According to a press release from his campaign, Mr. Putorti has had a majority of its donations come from New York, and over 600 from inside the district. The campaign said 85% of contributions are lower than $100.

Over the entire campaign, Mr. Putorti has raised the most of his Democratic competitors.

Mr. Putorti has raised $533,471 since he announced his run, followed by Mr. Castelli who has brought in $442,372. Mr. Putorti said in a statement Tuesday that his strong fundraising numbers among his Democratic competitors shows that the region’s voters care about the issues he focuses on.

“I am proud and grateful for the grassroots momentum behind our campaign to bring honorable leadership to the North Country,” Mr. Putorti said, “When I announced my candidacy, I noted three of the most important issues facing our communities: protecting the middle class, combating climate change, and countering threats to our democracy by extremist politicians like Elise Stefanik.”

Following Mr. Putorti, Brigid “Bridie” Farrell, the former U.S. National Team speedskater who went on to advocate for abuse survivors, brought in $89,225 last quarter. Of that, $1,000 came from the Voter Protection Project PAC, an organization that says it will “fight back against President Trump’s and Republicans’ attack on our right to vote.”

Overall, Ms. Farrell has raised $247,957 since announcing her campaign in July. Of that total, she had $91,223 left at the end of last year.

Ms. Farrell’s campaign spent about $64,721 in the last quarter, including $3,160 on ActBlue processing fees. The campaign spent about $600 on hotels around the North Country, plus $566 on a hotel stay at the Bellagio resort in Las Vegas, of which $218 was refunded.

The first Democrat to file to run in NY-21, Ezra Watson, brought in the lowest amount of cash among the primary field last quarter, and overall is the lowest earner in the race, bringing in about $3,500 since announcing in March 2021. Last quarter, he took in $1,853, all from individual donors and spent $574. Mr. Watson’s campaign filings did not include a description of what he spent those funds on. He ended 2021 with $1,681 available to spend.

The smallest campaign coffer belongs to Lonny Koons, the Carthage-based Republican candidate who intends to run against Rep. Stefanik in a primary. Mr. Koons’ campaign brought in $575 last quarter, and has raised about $7,800 since filing to run for office in July 2020.

Last quarter, Mr. Koons spent $1,111, all on an AT&T phone bill for the campaign. He ended the quarter with $869.

With the new Congressional district lines proposed for the North Country, five of the six candidates who originally announced campaigns in NY-21 remain within the new district borders. Mr. Watson’s town of residence, Wilton, was included in New York’s 20th Congressional District in the maps approved on Wednesday. It’s not clear what Mr. Watson intends to do, if he will run in the 20th District or still seek election in the 21st.

If they are all able to complete the petitioning process to initiate primary elections, the Democratic competitors will compete in a primary, while Mr. Koons and Rep. Stefanik could stand in a Republican primary, both planned for June 28.

All election dates are subject to change as the state Legislature completes the redistricting process.

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