Kathy Hochul raised a record-breaking $60 million to win term as NY governor
Democrat Kathy Hochul raised more than $60 million to win election to a full term as governor in a surprisingly close race against Republican challenger Lee Zeldin.
That means Hochul raised — and likely spent — nearly $20 for each of the 3 million votes she received.
Much of the money has been raised by companies doing business before the state — including donors running casinos seeking a license in New York, film companies benefiting from tax credits, cannabis companies, donors from the massive healthcare industry running hospitals or in these work and nursing homes, as well as other government contractors and public workers’ unions.
“As you all know by now, New York elected Governor Kathy Hochul to a full term. A historic campaign, not only that she is the first woman to hold this position, but also that our finance team broke many records and raised over $60 million in total!” Mackenzie Wasilick, Chief Financial Officer of Friends for Kathy Hochul, said in one Message to supporters on their LinkedIn page.
“In the last 14 months, we’ve held over 340 fundraisers, as well as countless meetings and hours of phone calls,” she added.
One of the campaign workers she thanked for raising funds was James Tebele.
He is the son of Charlie Tebele, whose New Jersey-based Digital Gadgets landed an overpriced $637 million emergency no-bid contract to provide COVID-19 testing after hosting a fundraiser for Hochul and raising over $300,000 dollars for her campaign, which critics called a corrupt “pay-to-play” deal.
Hochul denied any wrongdoing in the no-bid award to Digital Gadgets, saying in September, “I would do it all over again.”
Government watchdog groups have condemned the special interest payments that have flooded Hochul’s campaign.
“Sixty million dollars is an amazing amount of money. This is not good news for democracy,” said John Kaehny, director of Reinvent Albany.
He said Albany needs new legislation to severely restrict or ban donations from companies that offer or have received government contracts or have other business before the state. Such restrictions exist in the New York City government.
A new law that goes into effect in 2026 for statewide races tightens the governor’s contribution limits from $69,700 to $18,000.
Hochul raised at least 50 percent more funds than her predecessor, three-year Governor Andrew Cuomo, who generated in 2018. Cuomo resigned last year amid allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment, and Hochul, his hand-picked lieutenant governor, succeeded him as governor.
Her campaign also far surpassed Zeldin’s, which raised about $27 million in donations.
But outside pro-Zeldin super PACs helped diminish Hochul’s fundraising advantage. Conservative billionaire Ronald Lauder raised $10 million for Safe Together New York, then ran ads attacking Hochul.
Reinvent Albany’s Kaehny said new legislation was also needed to curb the spending of super PACs, which are used to circumvent contribution caps on fat cats awarded directly to candidates.
Wasilick, meanwhile, congratulated Hochul’s fundraising team for a job well done.
“Our outstanding finance team was led by Abby Erwin, Casey Ryan, Sarah Sellman and Justin Kim. We would be nowhere without our Compliance Manager, Helena Essex, as well as some of the best employees in the country: Noah Genson, Drew Thomas, Carmen P., James Tebele, Paige Phillips and Laurella Dolan,” she said in her message.
“And of course our advisory team: Sash Gluck, Tuckkr Green, Allison Romer and Ryan Belcher,” Wasilic said.
https://nypost.com/2022/11/21/kathy-hochul-raised-record-breaking-60m-to-win-term-as-ny-governor/ Kathy Hochul raised a record-breaking $60 million to win term as NY governor