State Sen. Elaine Phillips holds a 3-to-1 fundraising advantage over Democratic challenger Anna Kaplan, newly released campaign finance reports show, having raised more than $865,000 as of Oct. 1 compared with Kaplan’s roughly $270,000.
Republican groups have donated $377,200 to Phillips’ campaign so far. The New York State Senate Republican Campaign Committee contributed the bulk of that money, the reports filed with the state Board of Elections show, giving $344,500 to her campaign.
Friends of John Flanagan, the Republican majority leader of the state Senate, contributed $11,000 to the campaign. Cathy Young for Senate, which supports state Sen. Cathy Young, who chairs the Senate Republican Campaign Committee, also donated $11,000.
The North Hempstead Century Club contributed $5,000, while Friends of Catherine Rizzo, who is seeking to become a judge on Nassau County Court, contributed $700.
Meaghan Fitzgerald, a campaign spokesperson, said Phillips is “grateful and humbled” for the bipartisan support her campaign has attracted around the 7th District.
“Her supporters have seen how she successfully delivered record funding for our public schools, libraries, veterans and villages, how she fights for lower taxes to help make it more affordable to live on Long Island, demanded better service for LIRR commuters, and is working every day to protect our way of life,” Fitzgerald said.
“They also know how important this race is to preserving balance in state government and ensuring that Long Island continues to have a voice in decisions about our own future.”
Of the $865,177.90 the Phillips campaign has raised so far, $450,142.30 has been spent, according to financial reports.
The majority of the spending has gone toward advertising, with the campaign paying $360,939 to Brabendercox LLC for television advertisements. The campaign has also ramped up its spending with CCC Enterprises, reports show, paying the company $13,303.44 on Sept. 13 for campaign literature.
Both the New York State Senate Republican Campaign Committee and Nassau County Republican Committee are also spending a considerable amount with CCC Enterprises for mailing, campaign literature and printing, according to the reports.
The county Republican committee, so far, has spent $87,963.63 with CCC Enterprises – which is roughly half of its total $176,558.28 expenditures this year. The state committee, meanwhile, has spent $254,058.52 with the group out of its $1.57 million in expenditures.
Kaplan, meanwhile, has raised $269,821.53 this year so far, according to the records.
“It’s not surprising that the Republicans have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to prop up Elaine Phillips since she has consistently sided with the Republican extremists who block common sense gun legislation and oppose a woman’s right to choose,” Tess McRae, a spokeswoman for the Kaplan campaign, said in a statement.
“Anna is running a grassroots campaign focused on talking to voters about the issues impacting the district, not promoting conservative talking points to please deep-pocketed special interest groups.”
Among Kaplan’s biggest donors are Maiden Lane Properties LLC in Lake Success, real estate developer Nader Ohebshalom, legal firm Harass Bloom & Archer, the Mason Tenders District Council of Greater New York, Vote/Cope, the political fundraising arm of the New York State Union of Teachers, and Andrew Cuomo 2018 Inc.
Each of them donated the maximum $11,000 allowed under state law.
Kaplan’s campaign also received $5,000 from Friends of Mike Gianaris, who heads the New York State Democratic Campaign Committee, but the Kaplan campaign does not appear to have received direct donations from the New York Democratic Senate Campaign Committee itself.
The New York Democratic Senate Campaign Committee overall appears to be outspending the Republican committee, however, recording about $2 million in expenditures this year. The vast majority of this – $1.75 million – is going toward the Parkside Group for polling, television ads and campaign literature.
“Anna Kaplan is a great candidate who has the full support of the DSCC,” Mike Murphy, the committee’s spokesman, said via email. “There is a month remaining before the Election, and we are confident that she will continue to have the resources needed to win this November.”
So far the Kaplan campaign has spent $100,33.27, according to the reports. More than a quarter of the amount – $27,421.69 – has gone to the Parkside Group for polling and literature.
The next biggest expense appears to be wages, with $15,217.61 in expenses being listed with Paychex of New York LLC, followed by $8,618.82 payments to William Wilson, a consultant and policy analyst based in Michigan.
Craig Burnett, an assistant professor of political science at Hofstra University, said it is a “good sign” that Phillips is capable of raising money but the amount Republicans are investing in the district signals the race is very close.
“The fact that the Republicans are spending that amount of money in this district though suggests to me they think it’s either really close at the very minimum or at risk,” Burnett said.
Most of the money will likely be spent in the last days of the campaigns, Burnett said – but regardless of who wins, it likely won’t result in a “total sea change toward very, very liberal policy.”
“It’s going to be close, so Republicans will probably have some say in how things go because you are going to have people that are representing competitive districts,” Burnett said.