Gov. Kathy Hochul has raised a record $49.2 million in her bid for a full term – but Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin has leveled the playing field as the opponents on Friday both reported having nearly $6 million in campaign cash as the race enters its final days.
“We have the issues on our side, we have the momentum and energy on our side,” Zeldin said in a statement touting how he had raised more than Hochul in recent weeks as her position began slipping in the polls.
The incumbent Democrat reported having $5.95 million on hand compared to $5.85 for Zeldin in the final round of campaign filings posted before voting ends Nov. 8.
Zeldin raised $3.6 million in the period between Oct. 24 and Oct. 24 while Hochul raised $3.37 million.
The Hochul campaign did not immediately provide comment Friday night about Zeldin appearing to near the governor in official fundraising while political allies hit her from the outside.
Pro-Zeldin super PACs have raised at least $18 million to batter Hochul on issues like rising crime and inflation, which has led to an investigation by the state BOE of possible illegal coordination between Zeldin and the groups.
The full details of his latest filing were not available Friday night.
Hochul, too, has faced scrutiny over her fundraising practices, with the latest filing including big bucks raised from people and groups with business before the state.
A Super PAC tied to the Hospital Association of New York contributed $7,100 to Hochul, whose prolific fundraising has led to accusations of pay-to-play arrangements with donors, including a health care kingpin who she mysteriously met in Manhattan weeks ago
This includes a $637 million, no-bid, contract given by her administration to a New Jersey-based distributor of COVID-19 rapid tests amid $300,000 in donations from founder Charlie Tebele and his family.
Billionaire HBO-founder Charles Dolan and two family members each gave the maximum $47,100 to Hochul along with groups tied to teachers, transit worker and a PAC affiliated with Madison Square Garden, led by Dolan’s son James Dolan.
Hochul has backed expansive plans for the Penn Station area surrounding the Garden, leading to additional concerns about how her day job might be helping campaign donors in the real estate industry.
Other notables giving to Hochul in recent weeks include grocery store magnate John Catsimatidis, who gave $5,300 along with $14,700 from his wife Margo, along with $5,000 and $10,000 respectively from lobbyists Giorgio DeRosa and Emily Giske.
Tebele and Hochul have both denied any wrongdoing.
“There is no pay-to-play corruption,” Hochul said in her recent debate against Zeldin while repeating past comments that the controversial deal was necessary to keep schools open while the omicron wave of the pandemic battered New York last winter.
While Republicans are getting increasingly bullish about Zeldin’s chances of becoming the first GOP governor in a generation, Hochul allies are rallying to her to avoid an epic upset.
This includes lefty groups like the Working Families Party as well as interest groups who are speaking more with the wallets than words.
The New York City Police Benevolent Association donated $25,000 to Hochul despite the long history of union honch Pat Lynch blasting criminal justice reforms backed by Albany Democrats.
Her latest filing also spotlights how thespians are rallying to her cause with names matching soap opera actress Kylie Travis, “Miami Vice” actress Susan Hess and screenwriter Peter May also giving the drama-loving Hochul the max.
Read the full article here