Dem Senate Candidates Pull in Big Bucks as NYC Landlords Help Fund GOP Campaigns

Three women running for state Senate in the Hudson Valley have been outraising their Republican rivals as election day approaches.

Democratic Sen. Jen Metzger outraised her republican challenger, Michael Martucci, more than 2-to-1. Michelle Hinchey, who is vying for an open seat against Republican Richard Amedure­­­­, outraised him more than 3-to-1. Karen Smythe, who is challenging incumbent Sue Serino for the second time, raised slightly more than her rival.

All three races could be tight. If Smythe and Hinchey win, two more Senate seats in the Hudson Valley would flip blue. Wins in traditionally Republican districts by Metzger and Sen. James Skoufis in 2018 helped democrats gain the majority in the state Senate.

Sen. Jen Metzger

Metzger, whose district encompasses Sullivan County and parts of Orange, Delaware and Ulster counties, raised an astounding $143,960 from individuals between mid-July and the end of September. Nearly 1,100 people contributed to the campaign during this period, with the average contribution coming in at $130.

Her challenger, Michael Martucci, raised $53,602 from 268 individuals, with an average contribution of $200.

As well as providing funding for campaigns, a large number of individual donors can signal enthusiasm for a candidate.

Metzger also took in tens of thousands of dollars from Political Action Committees (PACs) representing unions in this period, including the maximum allowable contribution – $11,800 – from two healthcare workers’ unions. Martucci took in $17,500 from ten unions, most of which represent law enforcement officers.

A number of New York democratic candidates also shifted campaign contributions to Metzger’s war chest, suggesting democrats around the state see the importance of winning the race. These include a $2,500 contribution from Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan’s campaign and the maximum allowable amount from state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins’ campaign.

Martucci took in $28,300 from 30 corporations and LLCs. About half of the corporate donors were from outside the district, including seven with Brooklyn addresses. Metzger pledged during her initial run in 2018 to not accept corporate donations, a promise she has kept during her second campaign.

As of the end of September, Martucci had $136,465 in his campaign chest, while Metzger had $436,901.

Just north of Metzger’s district, Republican Richard Amedure and Democrat Michelle Hinchey are squaring off over the 46th district, formerly held by Republican George Amedore. The district stretches north from Kingston and includes all of Greene County.

Hinchey crushed Amedure in individual contributions, raising about $100,000 from 747 contributors between mid-July and the end of September, or $133 per contribution. Amedure raised $5,881 from 44 contributors, also about $133 per contribution.

Hinchey took in about $70,000 from PACs. Most of the PACs represent labor unions, but she also received contributions from two special interest PACs – the maximum allowable amount from a PAC representing realtors and $500 from a PAC representing Peckham Industries, an asphalt manufacturer with land in Catskill and Athens. Peckham withdrew plans to dispose of construction and demolition debris at the two sites earlier this year after grassroots opposition.

Amedure took in $30,000 from four PACs, including three police unions. The largest contribution – the maximum allowable amount – came from the disingenuously named Rent Stabilization Association a PAC representing New York City landlords.

Hinchey still had more than $142,000 heading into September, while Amedore held about $82,000 in his campaign chest.

Incumbent Republican Sue Serino and Democrat Karen Smythe took in comparable sums from mid-July to the end of September, which Serino pulling in about $120,000 and Smythe pulling in about $132,000.

Like Amedore, Serino’s largest chunk of money – $14,500 – comes from PACs representing the Rent Stabilization Association. She also received more than $40,000 from corporations and LLCs.

Smythe took in $82,797 from individual contributions, while Serino took in $55,410. Smythe heads into the final campaign stretch with a cash advantage – about $209,000 versus Serino’s $178,000.

The election is on November 3. For a guide on early voting and absentee ballots, click here.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article understated the amount of money contributed by PACs associated with the Rent Stabilization Association to Sen Serino’s campaign since mid-July. The amount was $14,500, not $12,000.

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