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Riverhead GOP has big lead in campaign fundraising

10/14/2017 6:00 AM |

Riverhead Republicans continue to outpace Democrats in spending ahead of November’s election.

Since January, GOP candidates have outspent their opponents by more than three times, according to the most recent campaign disclosure files available from the state Board of Elections.

The files also show Republicans have raised twice as much in campaign contributions and have about one-and-half times more money still left to spend.

“It’s always easier to raise money when you’re an incumbent,” said Laura Jens-Smith, the Democratic candidate for supervisor. “From the beginning, I knew this was going to be a grass roots campaign, and that’s what we are doing. We are knocking on doors and meeting people.”

She said Supervisor Sean Walter is taking a lot of contributions from people who are doing business with the town, and has exceeded campaign contribution limits in some cases.

Individuals are limited to $1,000 in a calendar year to any individual candidate, while corporations can give up to $5,000 in a calendar year, according to the Suffolk County Board of Elections.

Mr. Walter said he raised about $40,000 in 2009 when he challenged then-incumbent Phil Cardinale, and was elected.

“I think if you’re a credible challenger, you should be able to raise money,” he said. Mr. Walter said he doesn’t even look at who is contributing to his campaign.

“If somebody’s trying to curry favor by giving me campaign contributions, I don’t know that it works, because I don’t know who half these people are,” he said.

Mr. Walter and Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, who ran against each other for supervisor two years ago, are leading the way in campaign cash.

Republicans

Mr. Walter began the year with $6,714 on hand in campaign funds. Though the Oct. 6 disclosure filings, he has raised a total of $59,960 and spent $40,337, leaving $26,337 still available, according to the BOE.

Ms. Giglio started the year with $35, raised a total of $50,078 and has spent $46,535, leaving her with an available total of $3,577.

The other Republican council candidate, Frank Beyrodt, started the year with nothing since he wasn’t a candidate until late May, and has since raised $21,175, spent $14,714 and has $6,460 left.

The Riverhead Republican committee started the year with $9,489. It has raised $4,709, spent $19,455 and has $1,933 remaining.

Democrats

Ms. Jens-Smith began the year with $654 in her campaign coffers, before being nominated to run for supervisor in late May. Through the Oct. 6 filings, she has raised a total of $19,774 and spent $15,050 on her campaign, leaving $5,378 still available.

Her running mates, Catherine Kent and Michele Lynch, were both nominated in May as well, and also began their campaigns with no money.

Through the Oct. 6 filing, Mr. Lynch has raised $17,029 and Ms. Kent has raised $10,239, according to the BOE.

Ms. Lynch also spent more than her running mate, $5,239 to Ms. Kent’s $3,917. Ms. Lynch enters the final campaign month with $11,780 on hand, compared to Ms. Kent’s $6,321, according to the BOE.

The Riverhead Democratic committee’s latest disclosure report shows that, as of Oct. 6, it had raised $24,655 and spent $28,278, leaving a balance of $2,973.

Who gave what to whom?

Among the top contributors to Mr. Walter’s campaign were DGS Group LLC of Town Line Road in Hauppauge, which made two $1,000 contributions. That same company gave another $1,000 to Mr. Walter’s campaign in January, for a total of $3,000.

Mr. Walter said he doesn’t know who that is.

Other $1,000 contributions noted in the Oct. 6 filings came from Island Water Park, which wants to build a cable-pulled water skiing park at EPCAL, and Mivila of New York, which owns the building at EPCAL where Luminati Aerospace currently rents space.

Luminati, which gave $1,000 in January, gave $150 this time. Island Water Park and Mivila of New York had also made $1,000 contributions earlier this year.

Georgica Green Ventures, the company building a 116-unit, five-story mixed use apartment complex on East Main Street, donated $250 to Mr. Walter’s campaign in the most recent filing period.

Ms. Jens-Smith’s single biggest contribution was $500, from Plumbers Local Union No. 200 in Ronkonkoma.

Her running mate, Ms. Lynch, a retired organizer and political director for health care workers, fared much better, receiving $1,000 campaign contributions from the Metallic Lathers Union Local No. 46 of Manhattan, the Building and Construction Trades Council PAC of Hauppauge and attorney Richard Brandenstein of Woodbury and Theresa Schwartz of Jericho. She also received campaign contributions of $1,109 from the Sheet Metal Workers Local Union 28 PAC of Manhattan and from the Friends of Kathleen Rice, a congresswoman from Nassau County.

Ms. Kent also received a $1,109 contribution from Friends of Kathleen Rice, which was her largest contribution. In addition, she received $500 contributions from the Building and Construction Trades of Hauppauge and the United Association of Steamfitters Local Union No. 638.

Ms. Giglio received $1,000 campaign contributions from Joseph Mottala of Massapequa, a partner in H2M Engineering and Architects, which does work with the town, and from John Moran of sPower Solar, DF Stone Contracting of Medford and Island International at EPCAL, a company Ms. Giglio used for work for.

Mr. Beyrodt, whose family owns DeLea Sod Farms, received $1,000 contributions from DeLea Sod Farms; Vince Sasso of DeLea; Greg Long of White Plains and his company, The Long Agency; Carol Beyrodt of Mineola; the above-mentioned John Moran; Southold Recycling; and Van de Wetering Greenhouses, as well as $1,200 from City Cider House of Calverton.

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File photo: Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter. (Credit: News-Review)

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