WASHINGTON – Democratic congressional candidate Nathan McMurray pulled in more than $475,000 in campaign cash between July 1 and Sept. 30, with the vast majority of it coming after the Aug. 8 arrest of his Republican opponent, Rep. Chris Collins of Clarence.
McMurray's campaign announced the fundraising total Monday, saying that after campaign expenses were taken into account, it still had $425,243 on hand, as of the end of the third quarter.
The McMurray camp said the Democrat's fundraising skyrocketed after federal prosecutors indicted Collins on felony insider trading charges.
McMurray raised three and a half times as much in the third quarter than he did in the second.
“I’m proud to show the party bosses that our grassroots campaign has the resources to go toe-to-toe with special interest dark money and Mr. Collins’ dirty attack ads," said McMurray, the Grand Island town supervisor. "We’re only getting started.”
Even with the amount of money he pulled in between June and September, he's almost certainly still far behind Collins in campaign cash.
Collins reported $1.27 million in cash on hand, as of June 30, despite the fact that he used $253,938 in campaign money on legal fees. That means he had plenty of money to pay for two television ads attacking McMurray in recent weeks.
Still, the $475,000 influx gives McMurray the money to fight back.
"You can expect to see us on TV soon," McMurray said.
Collins' arrest – on charges he denies and said he will fight in court – upended the race in New York's 27th Congressional District, where Republicans have an 11-point natural advantage.
Collins withdrew from the race three days after his indictment, only to re-enter the contest in mid-September after his lawyers said his name could not be removed from the ballot.
Since then, the race has come to be seen as the district's most competitive since 2012, when Collins defeated then-Rep. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat who now serves as lieutenant governor.
By comparison, Hochul raised more money in the third quarter of 2012 – $730,645 – than McMurray did in the third quarter of this year. But Collins raised only $157,676 that quarter, and went on to win.
McMurray's third-quarter haul pales in comparison to many Democratic candidates nationwide.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced last week that 80 Democratic House candidates had raised at least $500,000 in the third quarter, and 60 of those candidates raised at least $1 million in those three months.
Asked for comment on McMurray's fundraising, Collins campaign spokeswoman Natalie Baldassarre issued a statement that said: "No amount of money is going to change the fact that Nate McMurray lobbied to send American jobs overseas, is aligned with radical Democrats and their anti-Second Amendment agenda, and is open to impeaching President Trump."
McMurray did not lobby to send jobs overseas; his former boss told The Buffalo News that McMurray worked in South Korea to help American companies sell their products there. McMurray said he supports the Second Amendment, along with gun control measures such as universal background checks and an assault weapons ban.
When asked about the possibility of Trump's impeachment, he has said: "I would hope it doesn't happen. It hasn't happened yet, but if a case is made to me, I will make a decision at that time."