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In State Senate, election cash flows freely

What's it costing for Republicans and Democrats to control the State Senate?

Lots, with lots more to come.

With special interests being forced to hedge their bets by giving to both Democrats and Republican efforts, the money race the past few weeks has been remarkable.

And many small businesses would blush at the spending levels. From Sept. 16 to Sept. 26, the Senate Republican Campaign Committee -- the central fundraising apparatus for the GOP trying to hold onto its slim majority -- spent $1,034,000, or $94,000 a day.

The money went to all sorts of efforts, including direct cash payments to nine Senate GOP candidates. Sen. Dale Volker, R-Depew, received $87,000 from the committee last month.

The money scorecard, in filings Friday with the state Board of Elections, shows the Senate GOP since mid-September raised $613,000, spent just over $1 million and has $1.7 million left in the bank.

The Senate Democratic Committee, meanwhile, raised $943,000 -- almost half of that from individual Senate Democratic campaign accounts -- and spent $223,000 during a two-week span and had $1.3 million left on hand.

The Senate has been dominated by the GOP for seven decades. Democrats are now seriously poised to take over the 62-member chamber. If that happens, the heads of the Senate and Assembly, as well as the governor, would all be from New York City.

The stakes are high. Besides controlling matters like state budget talks for the Senate, the Democrats could control -- in just a few years -- the entire reapportionment process. And whoever controls that determines how district lines are drawn for senators, Assembly members and New York's congressional delegation.

e-mail: tprecious@buffnews.com

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