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State Senate hopeful Daniel Squadron is smiling all the way to the bank.
The 28-year-old challenger announced last week that he has raised over $428,000 for the 25th State Senate District race — outpacing incumbent State Senator Martin Connor by a wide margin.
Connor, who is currently celebrating his 30th year in Albany, has raised upwards of $83,000, a spokesman for his campaign said.
When he announced his fundraising total, Squadron said that all of his money came from “independent voters” — unlike Connor, who he charged received money from Political Action Committees (PACs), lobbyists and corporations.
“People are hungry for real independence and a focus on working hard to get results — exactly the reason that so many people have gotten behind this effort,” Squadron said in a statement. “Without accepting contributions from corporations, PACs or lobbyists we have built a strong campaign that will bring the people of the 25th Senate District the independent, progressive representation we so sorely need.”
Connor’s people countered with their own breakdown of Squadron’s finances, alleging that most of the contributions to Senator Charles Schumer’s former aide were “big-money” handouts.
“Squadron received 17 contributions for the maximum allowable amount of $6,000,” the report said. “These contributions account for $102,000 in fundraising. This means the top 2 percent of Squadron’s contributions account for 23.7 percent of the total money he raised.”
The report also alleged that nearly all of these large contributions came from “out of the district.”
Squadron’s people were quick to blow holes through Connor’s deductions, claiming that they received 249 in-district contributions, “Over four times more in-district supporters than Connor has,” they said.
“It's no secret why Daniel's campaign has so much grassroots momentum,” said Matt Stolbach, Squadron’s campaign spokesman. “People in the 25th are hungry for change in Albany and active progressive leadership on affordability, public schools, and saving the character of our neighborhoods.”
But, while the debate on who-raised-what-where can go on and on, Connor’s people can’t help but admit that Squadron raised more money than the incumbent did, even if, as they claim, all the money is being used to manufacture a campaign built from smoke and mirrors.
“[Squadron] has raised an enormous amount of money,” said Chad Marlow, a spokesman for the Connor campaign. “For that amount of money he may be able to convince people that he can fly, but it wouldn’t be true.”
“The challenge in this campaign is that we’re running against a fictitious character,” Marlow claimed as he picked apart a recent Squadron mailing entitled “Lower East Side Story.”
The mailer takes great lengths to describe how Squadron’s grandparents started out as immigrants on the Lower East Side and their accomplishments as they etched out their own piece of the American dream, Marlow said.
“I don’t want to take anything away from the success of his family, but his grandparents aren’t running for State Senate. He is,” Marlow said. “We want to see what he’s done, not what his father did.”
“If the race boiled down to a comparison between the real Martin Connor and the real Dan Squadron, then Connor would win by a landslide,” Marlow charged.
Yet, Squadron may not be the only one practicing the art of misdirection.
“Instead of lies about Squadron’s record, shameful personal attacks, and wild accusations which distract from the vital challenges facing our city, the voters deserve an explanation from Marty Connor about what he's been doing for the last 30 years,” Stolbach fired back.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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