In the race for campaign funds among the region's state lawmakers, state Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, R-Rome, led the way, raising about $60,000 since the beginning of the year.
State Sen. Patricia A. Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, raised about $38,000. Assemblyman Kenneth D. Blankenbush, R-Black River, raised $6,500. His Assembly colleague, Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, D-Theresa, did not raise any funds, but said she was holding a fundraiser in August.
The finance reports shed light on the preferred method of raking in cash (the fundraiser, sometimes in Albany), the entities the funds come from (upwards of half from political action committees, businesses and unions) and possible repeat challengers in 2012 (none, except for Mr. Blankenbush).
Mr. Griffo's haul brought his campaign coffers to a formidable $177,876 total. He spent only about $10,000 so far in 2011, with much of that going toward setting up fundraisers. The majority of the funds he raised came on two dates, March 4, March 14, suggesting that fundraisers were held on those days. And roughly half the money came from organizations like PACs and unions.
Contributors included the political action committee of the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association, the state's corrections officers union. It donated $3,000 to Mr. Griffo in February, just over a month before the state budget that gave Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo wide lattitude on prison closures — to the chagrin of the union. Union officials had privately expressed dismay at the Senate GOP for not putting up more of a fight on the issue. Mr. Griffo spent money to organize two fundraisers at the Fort Orange Club in Albany, one in March and the other in June. He also paid for a fundraiser at the Blue Flag Room, Utica.
Mrs. Ritchie had $58,962 left in the bank at the end of the reporting period. Individual contributors made up $8,000 of her $37,879 fundraising total. Most of the rest came from businesses and PACs. Mrs. Ritchie also received a $3,000 donation from NYSCOPBA in February. She also received $400 from the Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station, which is in the midst of a strike with unionized workers, and $1,150 from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Mrs. Ritchie recently met with International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers officials to urge them to come back to the negotiating table.
The largest expenditure in her account was $3,106 for a reception at the University Club of Albany.
On July 14, Republican congressional candidate Matthew A. Doheny hosted a fundraiser for Mrs. Ritchie. But donations that she received from the fundraiser won't show up on her disclosure report until the next round of reports come out in January 2012, because the cut-off date for disclosure was on July 11. Assemblyman Kenneth D. Blankenbush, Black River, raised $6,500 and spent $4,074, bringing his closing balance to $4,638. He took in about half of his money from individual contributors. The rest came from PACs and businesses. Mr. Blankenbush will host a fundraiser in August.
Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, D-Theresa, had the shortest campaign finance disclosure forms, weighing in at two pages. That's because she did not raise any money. She said she will host a fundraiser in August.
For all but one candidate, inactivity was a good sign that a rematch with 2010 opponents was not imminent.
Mr. Griffo's opponent, Maria Pavelock, has nearly emptied her campaign coffer in a loan repayment to herself. Mrs. Ritchie's opponent, Darrel J. Aubertine, had little activity in his account. David W. Forsythe, Mrs. Russell's opponent, has said he won't run again, and did not have any activity in his account.
But Brian S. McGrath, Mr. Blankenbush's Democratic opponent in 2010, has remained somewhat active, paying for advertisements that often pillory his erstwhile rival.
No other active filer for the districts that they represent was on record with the state.