Political Notebook: GOP leads the way in campaign spending

Campaign finance records show Riverhead Town GOP candidates have raised more than their Democratic counterparts. Above, incumbent supervisor Sean Walter, incumbent Town Councilman George Gabrielsen and former supervisor and Democratic candidate Phil Cardinale.

Republican candidates for Riverhead Town have raised and spent far more campaign money than their Democratic counterparts since January, according to campaign disclosure reports on file with the Board of Elections.

Tallying up campaign contributions and receipts reported since January, incumbent Republican Sean Walter has raised $54,398 and spent $60,581.

He started the year with a balance of $20,989, and still has a balance of $14,806, according to the most recently filed campaign disclosure forms, which are filed online at the state Board of Elections.

Democrat challenger and former town supervisor Phil Cardinale started with $37,072 in January, which was left over from his previous campaigns.

Over the course of 2011, he has raised $13,679 and spent $17,103, leaving him with $33,649  still in his campaign war chest.

And Mr. Cardinale isn’t even in second place in terms of contributions received this year.

The third candidate in the supervisor race, Greg Fischer, has received a total of $19,222 in contributions in 2011, and spent $18,515.

However, a big chunk of Mr. Fischer’s contributions is money he loaned himself. In January, before he even announced his intention to run for supervisor, Mr. Fischer “loaned” his campaign fund $4,438, according to the Board of Elections filings.

Mr. Fischer ran an unsuccessful primary against Mr. Cardinale for the Democratic nod for supervisor, and filed petitions to challenge Mr. Walter for the Independence party line, but those petitions were rejected by that party’s leaders, since he isn’t registered with the Independence party.

Mr. Fischer remains on the November ballot on the Riverhead First line.

His Friends of Greg Fischer campaign fund was in existence before this year, since he has run for other offices in the past.

In the council race, the fundraising disparity is not even close.

Incumbent Republican Jim Wooten, who had considered challenging Mr. Walter as the party’s supervisor candidate, leads the way with $41,284 raised and $36,896 spent in 2011.

The other incumbent Republican, Councilman George Gabrielsen, has $20,210 raised so far in 2011 and spent $14,934.

For the Democratic council candidates, Matt Van Glad has raised $3,470 and spent $2,492. The other council candidate, Marlando Williams, has not filed any campaign disclosure forms this year, according to the BOE.

Ruth Pollack, who is running for council on the Riverhead First line with Mr. Fischer, also hasn’t filed campaign disclosure forms.

As for the party committees, both the Riverhead Republican and Democratic committees hadn’t filed the most recent reports, due last Friday.

However, through the last report the Republican committee filed 11 days before the primary, they had raised $28,209 and spent $46,709 in 2011.

The Democratic committee’s last report was filed in July. For the year, they had raised $7,591 and spent $5,807 up to that point.

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