Tom Suozzi leads by $150K in fundraising race

Tom Suozzi leads by $150K in fundraising race

Democrat Tom Suozzi has about a $150,000 advantage over his Republican foe, Jack Martins, in the final stretch of the 3rd Congressional District race, campaign finance filings show.

Suozzi, a former Nassau County executive, had $477,588 in his war chest after taking in more than $1 million and spending about $707,000 from July through September, according to the campaign’s quarterly financial report filed Saturday.

Martins, an Old Westbury state senator, spent about $464,000, more than the $375,000 he received, leaving him with $324,984 on hand as of Sept. 30.

The filings suggest Democratic groups are putting money into the race to defend retiring Democratic Rep. Steve Israel’s seat as Martins invests heavily in media to boost his name recognition in the North Shore district.

Mike Florio, Suozzi’s campaign manager, said the fundraising numbers show the “positive, issues focused campaign” is resonating with voters.

“People know that we need someone in Washington who will work with others, no matter which side of the aisle they are on, to address and try and solve the serious problems we face on Long Island and Queens,” Florio said in a statement.

But E. O’Brien Murray, Martins’ senior strategist, said Martins’ success in a recent campaign-commissioned poll indicates voters are rejecting Suozzi, and that the campaign’s spending on TV ads and other media is helping get his name out.

“A great thing about this race for Jack Martins is the more the voters hear about Jack Martins, the more they want to support him,” Murray said in an interview.

Suozzi’s campaign has warned supporters of the threat outside GOP money poses to his apparent lead in the race.

But in the third quarter he received 89 donations totaling more than $107,000 from other campaigns and political committees, including the fundraising arms of the Democratic National Committee and the Congressional Black Caucus — more than four times the amount he received from outside groups from April through June.

A group called the Tenacious Truth PAC also paid more than $17,000 for an anti-Martins mailer in September, records show.

The National Republican Congressional Committee has spent heavily on Martins’ behalf, but his campaign received just $97,800 from other candidates and PACs.

Martins spent more than $337,000 on TV ads, digital media and print materials, more than 72 percent of his campaign’s total expenses.

A Newsday poll earlier this month showed most voters in the district stretching from northeast Queens to northwest Suffolk County did not know Martins or had no opinion of him. But his campaign said Tuesday that a poll showed he had reduced Suozzi’s lead to less than one percentage point.

The NRCC also spent about $360,000 on TV ads opposing Suozzi before a Newsday poll showed Suozzi with a significant lead, pushing the committee to cancel the rest of a $1.1 million ad buy.

Suozzi also spent heavily on media, shelling out more than $370,000 for mailers and TV, digital and print advertisements. That accounts for about 53 percent of his campaign’s expenses. The campaign has been billed for another $49,865 in media spending.

In the race for southwest Nassau County’s 4th Congressional District, filings show incumbent Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice with a $671,000 advantage over Republican David Gurfein, a retired U.S. Marine from Manhasset.

Both candidates spent more than they raised.

Rice, who is running for a second term, had $807,577 in her war chest after taking in $155,618 and spending $248,437.

Gurfein, a former military congressional liaison, had $136,247 on hand after raising $38,589 and spending $89,700.

By Noah Manskar

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