New campaign finance data released this week shows Democratic challenger Antonio Delgado has outraised incumbent Republican John Faso by a more than two-to-one margin in the race for New York’s 19th Congressional District. But heavy spending by Delgado on a hard-fought seven-way Democratic primary earlier this year has left the two campaigns on a near-equal fiscal footing as they head into the home stretch.
The data is contained in Federal Election Commission quarterly reports which list all fundraising and spending by the campaigns through Sept. 30. The reports show that between January 2017 and October 2018, Delgado raked in $6,589,846 in campaign cash, compared to $3,334,925 brought in by Faso’s campaign committee.
The records also show that Delgado spent heavily in his successful effort to break out of a crowded field and secure the Democratic Party line. In the period between January 2017 and June 2018, records show Delgado spent a little over $2 million of his war chest. Faso, by contrast, spent $1.2 million during the same period. The reports show that as of Oct. 1 Delgado’s campaign had $1,749,405 in remaining campaign funds while Faso held $1,435,951 in cash on hand.
The data also shows a wide disparity in fundraising methods between the two campaigns. For Delgado, more than 88 percent of his fundraising total came from individual donations while just 4 percent came from political action committees. All of the PACs supporting Delgado are aligned with progressive causes or Democratic politicians, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and upstate Congressman Paul Tonko. No PACs linked to trade groups or corporate interests appear in his fundraising totals. Among Delgado’s top PAC contributors are the Congressional Black and Latino caucuses, which each donated $5,000, and PAC to the Future, a fundraising group linked to Pelosi.
Faso by contrast raised 56 percent of his total from individuals while PACs made up another 34 percent. Among the PACs supporting Faso are a number representing corporate interests including real estate, insurance, healthcare and agriculture. Faso also received $7,350 from the National Rifle Association’s PAC. $10,000 came from a PAC linked to Koch Brothers Industries and another $10,000 came from a PAC sponsored by National Security Adviser John Bolton. The incumbent Republican also received $7,000 from high-profile law and lobbying firm Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer and Feld — Delgado’s former employer.
In a prepared statement, Delgado repeated his theme of Faso, a longtime state assemblyman and former Albany lobbyist, as a tool of corporate interests.
“People have come together and built this momentum without taking a dime from Corporate PACs,” Delgado said of his campaign. “This is a choice between someone who puts the interests of the people first and someone who is beholden to the interests of big corporations.”
Faso has attacked the Schenectady-born Delgado as an outsider who had “parachuted in” to the district and had little connection to his would-be constituents. Delgado is a former Rhodes Scholar and Harvard Law graduate who pursued a music career in Los Angeles and practiced law for Akin Gump in Manhattan before settling in Rhinebeck shortly before he entered the race. Faso noted that $1 million of Delgado’s contributions had come from individuals in Vermont, California and Massachusetts.
“Residents of our district know that he’s someone who just parachuted in and is being funded by people who don’t live in our district or even our state,” said Faso. “Most of my resources come from people and organizations with interests right here in the district.”
FEC records show that Diane Neal has raised just $25,126 since entering the race over the summer. She has loaned her own campaign another $115,153. Among the 27 individual contributors to the former “Law and Order SVU” actor’s campaign are comedian and former Saturday Night Live cast member Fred Armisen and actor Rosie Perez. Neal also received a $2,700 contribution from inventor Dal “Tweezerman” Lamagna of Rhinebeck. Lamagna was running in the race as an independent candidate until last month when a court threw out his petitions for a spot on the ballot.