WASHINGTON – The Democratic challengers to Western New York's two Republican House members each raised more than $240,000 in the first 17 days of October, meaning they both have plenty of money to run against GOP incumbents who still have even more cash remaining in their campaign coffers.
Nathan McMurray, the Grand Island town supervisor who is challenging Republican Rep. Chris Collins in New York's 27th District, raised $246,408, according to a pre-election report filed late Thursday with the Federal Election Commission. Tracy Mitrano of Penn Yan, the Democrat who is challenging GOP Rep. Tom Reed in the 23rd district, reported raising $244,187.
The Democrats' cash haul would seem to ensure that both will be able to maintain a television advertising presence in the last days of the campaign – although their Republican opponents have the money to be on the airwaves even more.
While McMurray had $408,706 on hand as of Oct. 17 for the rest of his campaign, Collins had $684,212. And while Mitrano's campaign account had $406,345 left as of mid-October, Reed had $928,815.
McMurray has already aired three campaign ads in the 27th District, which connects Buffalo's suburbs with parts of Rochester's via the countryside in between.
McMurray has been running relatively positive campaign ads while lashing into Collins online and in interviews, highlighting the federal felony insider trading charges the incumbent is facing.
Collins has launched several ads attacking McMurray for his prior work in Asia and his stance in favor of single-payer health care.
The new FEC reports would seem to indicate, though, that McMurray has at least some momentum in the race. The Democrat pulled in 137 times as much money in early October as Collins did, and 97 percent of McMurray's new money came from individual donors, many of them from the district.
Collins built a campaign war chest of more than $1 million long before his Aug. 8 indictment. More than half of his money came from political action committees, mostly representing businesses.
As a result, Collins had so much money remaining that he was able to spend $341,589 on his campaign in the first part of October. That's $70,270 more than McMurray spent.
The Collins-McMurray race hit the national radar screen with Collins' indictment, but lately it's come clear that the race between Reed and Mitrano may be competitive, too.
The Cook Political Report this week moved the Southern Tier race from "likely Republican" to "lean Republican" after Mitrano raised $855,000 in the third quarter.
She continued her fast fundraising pace in early October, raising 2.8 times as much as Reed.
Mitrano was able to spend $522,089 on her campaign in October's early days, about $71,000 more than Reed.
In addition, Mitrano on Friday released an internal campaign poll of 510 voters that showed Reed with 44.5 percent of the vote and the Democrat with 42.7 percent. Some 12.9 percent said they were undecided.
The poll, conducted by Change Research, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. It showed that 38.5 percent of respondents identified as Democrat, 39 percent Republican, and 22.5 percent as Independent. The district favored President Trump, a Republican, by 15 points in the 2016 presidential election.