October 21, 2021 by Alex Gault

The latest congressional financial statements are out, showing Congresswoman Elise Stefanik has again handily outraised her growing field of competitors.

In a series of routine disclosure documents filed Friday, Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, showed she raised $1,140,947 between July 1 and Sept. 30, for her congressional campaign alone.

Factoring in the $267,000 raised by E-PAC, her organization to support Republican women, the congresswoman raised about $1.46 million in the last quarter.

Individual contributions

She took in about $885,900 of her congressional committee income from individual contributions, split roughly evenly between small-dollar contributions and large, $250-or-more donations.

She raised exactly $162,000 from political action committees, including a number of large corporations. While her Democratic challengers have almost universally vowed not to take corporate PAC money, Stefanik accepted large donations from groups including the Lockheed Martin Employees PAC, which gave $3,000 last quarter and $4,000 total in this election cycle thus far; Raytheon Corporation, which gave $2,000 this quarter; and the Burger King Franchise PAC, which gave $2,000 as well.

Stefanik’s largest corporate PAC supporter was UBS Americas PAC, which represents the political interests of the American arm of the Swiss investment bank and financial services firm UBS Group AG. UBS Group is the largest Swiss banking institution and largest private bank in the world, with offshoots established in every core financial center on the globe.

She also took in $4,000 from the campaign for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.; $10,000 from the House Majority PAC run by McCarthy; and $10,000 from the Eye of the Tiger PAC run by Rep. Stephen Scalise, R-La.

Record income

Overall, the congresswoman reported record income for this point in a non-election year for any North Country candidate in history. In a statement sent Monday after the financial disclosures were released, Stefanik’s senior advisor Alex deGrasse boasted how the congresswoman has outraised all of her Democratic challengers combined.

“None of the five far-left socialists running stand a chance against Congresswoman Stefanik, who has five times the cash-on-hand as all her opponents combined,”he said.

Stefanik’s campaign has spent about $1 million of the $3,685,100 it has raised since the end of last year’s elections. She ended September with $2,630,875 in cash-on-hand, with no debts owed. She’s spent the bulk of that on routine expenditures, including $558,162 on operating expenses in the last quarter. Those expenses include flights and travel, rent and salaries, credit card processing fees for donations made online and campaigning expenses.

Her campaign also made a number of contributions to other candidates and charitable causes in the last quarter. The campaign gave $1,000 to the Lewis County Dairy Industry Building, which facilitates the milking of show cows during the Lewis County Fair, on Aug. 10.

For other congressional campaigns, Stefanik gave $16,000 to various candidates in New York, Idaho, Maine and Ohio.

The Stefanik campaign gave $2,000 to the New York Republican Federal Campaign Committee, $500 to the New York Young Republicans college group, $500 to the St. Lawrence County Republican Committee, $250 to St. Lawrence County Family Court Republican candidate Andrew Moses, and $250 to Susan Bellor, a candidate for Massena town supervisor.

Looking ahead

As Stefanik won by a record margin in 2020, Mr. deGrasse said, her team is confident she can do the same in 2022.

“Congresswoman Stefanik won the last election with the largest number of votes ever for a North Country congressional candidate, and our team looks forward to another historic landslide against any one of these Far-Left Democrats,”he said.

Castelli closest

Of the Democrats running against Stefanik, newly announced candidate Joseph“Matt”Castelli raised the largest sum in the last quarter, bringing in $275,454. Nearly all of that comes from individual, independent donors, with $5,800 donated by Castelli himself.

He’s run a relatively cheap campaign as well, spending only $11,263 overall. Castelli spent $5,452 on purchasing a donor list from a Democratic political communications firm and $5,810 on fees from ActBlue, the main Democratic online donations platform.

Castelli’s comparatively strong incomes, coupled with his light campaign costs, left him with $246,190 in cash-on-hand as of Sept. 30, the largest sum of any of his longer-running Democratic opponents.

In a statement sent Monday, Castelli said he raised that amount in just 22 days.

“Since launching our campaign just over a month ago, we have achieved so many milestones in building an effort from the ground up,”he said.“While Elise Stefanik can rely on extreme special interest groups, I’m proud that this campaign is attracting grassroots support and a team dedicated to replacing a bought-and-paid-for Washington D.C. politician from office.”

Matthew Putorti, the second Democratic candidate to announce his campaign for Congress, has the second-largest war chest among the Democratic field, although he ranked only third in donations compared to all his Democratic opponents. Putorti brought in $138,471 in donations, but spent $149,432, leaving him with $183,722 in cash-on-hand thanks to the prior quarter’s donations.

Putorti is the only candidate to carry any debts, owing $7,250 to Blueprint Interactive, a marketing agency, and $1,500 to Barbara Spoor, a Whitehall-area consultant according to Putorti’s filings.

Putorti’s expenditures are largely for consulting with various national Democratic agencies, bank fees and campaign material printing.

Brigid“Bridie”Farrell, the third Democrat to announce her candidacy, in June, reported bringing in $159,512 in donations in the last quarter, while she spent $92,011 altogether. She ended September with $67,500 in cash-on-hand.

Farrell’s only non-individual donation was $500 from Remedy PAC, run by Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif.

Her campaign expenditures are mainly for consulting, digital advertising, and $17,500 for digital video production by marketing agency Bryson Gillette, the firm that manages her campaign.

The smallest Democratic campaign belongs to Ezra Watson, a Wilton, Saratoga County, resident. Despite being the first Democrat to announce his campaign, this marks his first campaign finance disclosure. Watson brought in $1,709 in the last quarter.

Watson has spent $1,300 of that thus far, namely for a campaign manager and reimbursing a volunteer for the purchase of campaign services.

There’s a fifth Democrat in the race as well, Keith Sherrill, a Sackets Harbor Democrat who filed to run on Sept. 24. Sherrill has not actively campaigned, announced his candidacy publicly or released any financial disclosures yet. A phone number listed on his Federal Election Commission statement of organization connected to a voicemail box that has not been set up.

Lonny Koons, a Carthage-area resident, is hoping to challenge Stefanik in a Republican primary election next summer. Koons reported raising $2,235 in the last quarter, and has raised $6,800 since the beginning of the year.

Most of that is self-funding. Koons has donated $4,067 to his own campaign, with no other major donors.

He’s spent about $5,400 this election cycle, and $1,936 in the last quarter, mostly on cell phone bills, campaign materials and office supplies.

All seven NY-21 Congressional candidates will have about nine months to continue fundraising and campaigning before the New York primaries, expected to be held in June.

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