Fueled by donations from beyond the district and a central Republican fundraising committee, Senate candidate Dennis Delano raised three times as much as incumbent Democratic Sen. William Stachowski during the past couple of months for next month's 58th Senate district election.
With Republicans insisting they believe Stachowski is vulnerable, even if the Buffalo-dominated district has a two-to-one Democratic voter enrollment edge, Delano brought in $257,000 since the end of July. Most of it -- $183,000 -- came in payments from the Senate Republican Campaign Committee, the main fundraising apparatus for GOP lawmakers desperate to hold on to their seven decades of dominance in the Senate.
Delano is a political newcomer who earned a following as a longtime Buffalo cold case detective.
Stachowski during the period brought in $94,000, according to financial reports filed this morning with the state elections board in Albany.
It is not clear, given the amount of money flowing from GOP benefactors, whether Senate leaders seriously believe political newcomer Delano has a shot at unseating Stachowski or if the money is part of a bob-and-weave campaign both Democrats and Republicans are waging now in a number of Senate districts across the state.
The big money flowing to Delano's campaign came from outside the Buffalo-dominated district. A New York City landlords group, long a major source of campaign cash for Senate Republicans, gave him $9,500. Individual donors included a number of downstate-based real estate executives, including Manhattan's Burton Resnick, who gave him $4,000, and Michael Goldstein, who donated $6,500.
Former Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, who has registered as a lobbyist, gave $9,500 to Delano.
Bruno, who was the GOP leader since 1995 before unexpectedly leaving office after the spring session this year, has been spreading money around the past couple of months. Since July 31, he has donated $195,000 in campaign contributions from his former Senate account, nearly all of it going to Senate GOP efforts, including $100,000 to the Senate GOP committee, according to a preliminary list of his donations on hand at the elections agency Friday morning.
Bruno has a major interest in seeing the Senate remain in the hands of Republicans. The GOP has a 31-30 edge over Democrats and a half-dozen seats are in play.
Current Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, a Long Island Republican, gave Delano $9,500. Besides donating $183,000 to Delano's campaign, the Senate GOP committee spent another $1,138 on his behalf in other campaign activities.
On the Democratic side, the main Democratic Senate Campaign Committee reported Friday having only spent $691 on behalf of Stachowski.
Delano, meanwhile, has been spending most of his money on advertising. The past two months, his campaign has sent $202,000 to Greener & Hook, a Virginia political ad firm that counts among its political clients Erie County Executive Chris Collins. Republican operatives in Albany last week privately said internal polling shows Delano with a chance of beating Stachowski; they refused to share the results.
Stachowski spent far less -- $54,000 -- in advertising than Delano. His major donors have included Amherst businessman Hormoz Mansouri ($2,500), the Albany lobbying firm of Wilson, Elser, Moskowtiz ($3,000), and U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins ($3,500).
Stachowski also was helped by the state's top Democrat -- Gov. David A. Paterson -- who donated $2,500 to help keep Stachowski in Albany.
Stachowski said he has brought in large donations since the deadline for the recent filing, though he could not provide a precise figure. And he lashed out at Delano's source of money. "He didn't raise much money at all. All his money is coming from Albany and New York City," Stachowski said, noting the donations from the Senate GOP account, other senators and various special interests.
"That suggests his claim of independence is misleading," Stachowski said. Asked why the Senate Democratic committee had not given him more money, he said, "You'd have to ask them." Delano did not return a call for comment.