12:33 am Apr. 20, 20122
So far, the Republican challengers to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand are struggling to sell their campaigns to New York donors.
Representative Bob Turner, who entered the race in March touting his name recognition and fund-raising ability, reported collecting just $90,390 in the first quarter, according to his latest filing with the F.E.C.
Turner burned through the bulk of that money, spending $63,691 in the first three months of the year, leaving him with $97,515 in cash on hand. (Turner also reports a debt of $65,500, which consists of his own contributions to the campaign.)
"This filing represents a campaign that had just opened its doors," said Jessica Proud, a spokesperson for Turner. "Bob Turner knows what it takes to win a high profile race and he will have the resources necessary to compete in November."
In January and February, when Turner was still hoping to run for re-election in his south Brooklyn district, he spent a combined $25,000 on media buys with Davidzon Media, the company owned by the influential Russian businessman Gregory Davidzon. Turner's district was subsequently drawn out of existence, after which he declared for the Senate race.
Despite his stature as a minor hero in the party after his upset special-election victory to replace Anthony Weiner, Turner was out-raised in the first quarter by one of his rivals for the Republican nomination, Wendy Long, a former judicial activist and first-time candidate, who reported $141,750 over the same period. (Long's husband, Arthur Long, gave $500 to Turner, one week before the congressman announced for the Senate.)
Like Turner, Long had a high burn-rate, reporting just over $68,000 in cash on hand, after staffing up with a team of experienced advisers. She added one more to the payroll this week: former George Pataki aide Rob Ryan, who accompanied Long to the G.O.P. dinner in Manhattan on Thursday night.
George Maragos, the Nassau County comptroller who is also vying for the Republican nomination, has yet to begin raising money. He reported giving himself another $40,000 in the first quarter, which leaves him with $1 million (of his own money) officially on hand.
Maragos spent just over $34,000, mostly in the form of contributions to candidates and county committees, shows of support which were not always reciprocated.
In late January, he gave $3,000 to the committee for Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks, who later introduced Long at the Republican nominating convention, and $2,970 to the state Conservative Party, which overwhelmingly endorsed Long last month. He also gave $500 to the campaign of State Senator Marty Golden, who endorsed Turner earlier this week.
Gillibrand, a prodigious fund-raiser dating back to her days as an upstate House member, has $9.1 million in cash on hand. Her opponents insist her $9 million advantage won't ultimately matter.
"No amount of money can explain away Kirsten Gillibrand's status as the Most Liberal Senator in America or her vote against the Keystone Pipeline," said Proud, Turner's spokesperson. "Ms. Gillibrand spent $13 million just two years ago, and still she remains vulnerable. There is a reason, and that reason is her record."