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Mar 3, 2010 11:20 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Board candidates fund-raised nearly the same amounts

Mar 3, 2010 11:20 AM

With a week to go before the special election for an open Southampton Town Board seat, Republican candidate William Hughes still had more than $26,000 in his campaign coffers last week, more than double the amount his opponent, Bridget Fleming, had left.

But Ms. Fleming’s overall fund-raising throughout the campaign has been on par with Mr. Hughes’s, and actually outpaced him if a personal $10,000 loan the retiring Southampton Town Police lieutenant kicked in for his own campaign is excluded.

The two campaigns filed their final financial disclosure statements for next Tuesday’s special election with the New York State Board of Elections on February 26. The Hughes campaign reported having raised a total of $28,779, including the $10,000 loan from Mr. Hughes himself. Ms. Fleming’s campaign reported $21,210 in receipts, the vast majority in donations from individuals.

Campaign officials for Mr. Hughes said they did not have updated totals of donations or expenditures since the filings were sent to the state on February 22. Cheryl Rozzie, Ms. Fleming’s campaign treasurer, said Ms. Fleming has taken in just shy of $25,000 to date.

Mr. Hughes’s campaign manager, Alfred Hobbs, said the campaign has several outstanding bills from a large mailing sent out to Republican, Conservative and Independence party voters over the weekend and for advertisements through local media outlets in the days since the filings were sent to the state. He said the campaign’s treasurer, Mr. Hughes’s wife, Linda, had been expecting a big round of bills to come in that would likely use up a “substantial sum” out of the campaign’s funds. But the Hughes campaign had spent little of its available funds as of the filing of the disclosure statements and carried a substantial war chest into the closing two weeks of the race.

“We haven’t spent a whole lot of money up to now,” Mr. Hobbs said on Friday. “We’ve only gotten about $3,000 in bills so far, but that doesn’t count this mailing. We’re going to have radio ads going right up to the last minute, and we’re doing the advertising in the local papers pretty heavily this week.”

Ms. Fleming’s campaign, in contrast, had spent a little less than half the money it raised, primarily on mailings to registered voters and on advertisements on radio and in newspapers. Between January 20 and February 20, the campaign spent $8,068, according to the state disclosure filing. About $2,000 went to making yard signs with Ms. Fleming’s name on them. Another $2,500 went to postage for a mailing to more than 10,000 town voters. Another $1,800 went to newspaper ads.

“I think we’re right on target with what we’ve wanted to put out there for the public,” former Town Councilwoman Sally Pope, the chairperson of Ms. Fleming’s campaign, said. “We’ve got a very active campaign going.”

Ms. Fleming’s campaign manager, Robin Long, said that she thinks Ms. Fleming’s fund-raising efforts have gone very well. The bulk of the campaign’s contributions have come from local residents in the form of small donations of $100 or less. Just eight individuals made donations of $500 or more, including Hampton Bays attorney Melinda Rubin; author Megan McAndrew, who has a house in Hampton Bays; and Southampton businessman Ricardo Sobrevinas. The two largest individual donations to Ms. Fleming’s campaign were for $1,500 from Maritza Jimenez of Bridgehampton and $1,896 from real estate agent Josef C. Mangiaracina of Eastport. A realty company called Chichester Realty Inc., which listed the same address as Mr. Mangiaracina, also donated $1,800 to Ms. Fleming’s campaign, the largest corporate donation she received. Brother’s Painting and Decorating of Hampton Bays donated $1,000; as did the Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Committee. Total corporate donations to the campaign were just over $2,100.

“This has been a very grass-roots fund-raising effort,” said Robin Long, Ms. Fleming’s campaign manager. “The Republicans are like a machine when it comes to fund-raising. We did not have a button we could push. We’ve gone door to door.”

Mr. Hughes’s campaign draws from an even longer list of individual donors who made relatively small contributions to the campaign. Through February 20, just three people had given $500 or more: Paul Bellissimo of Calverton, James Kiernan of Hampton Bays, and Arma Andon of Westhampton. None gave more than $500. Mr. Hughes also had a longer list of corporate donors who gave a total of $3,100, but only three of those were for $500 or more. Rapid Recovery LTD of Hampton Bays donated $1,000 and Ocean Electric of Southampton and Traina Enterprises of Nesconset gave $500 each.

Mr. Hughes also received $1,000 from the campaign funds of former Republican Party candidates, including Marietta Seaman, Patrick Heaney, Linda Kabot and current Town Board members Chris Nuzzi and Nancy Graboski.

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Did anyone play both sides of the fence with their campaign donations?
By RemembertheDucks (54), Eastport on Mar 7, 10 6:07 PM
Great question!
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Mar 7, 10 7:46 PM
I did..I donated nothing to either candidate.
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Mar 7, 10 8:03 PM
1 member liked this comment
what are the voting hours tomorrow for this election?
By frosty (2), Westhampton Beach on Mar 8, 10 4:25 PM
Standard voting hours 6AM to 9 PM
By DJII13 (155), Hampton Bays on Mar 8, 10 9:05 PM