Defending incumbent Neil Breslin is in the upper echelon's of Senatorial cash hoarders. The Friends of Senator Breslin is reporting a haul of over $200,000. This was added to an opening balance in excess of that amount, for a grand total of over $414,000 cash on hand, one of the largest Senate war chests in the State.
Challengers Tim Carney and Luke Martland both handed in greater than the required amount of signatures to get on the ballot in the September primary. But only Martland has filed a financial report, since Carney's pull of less than a grand puts him in the "don't bother to file" category. It also very likely places him in the "non-competitive" category despite his grassroots tenacity. Luke Martland, on the other hand, has reported over $140,000 in total reciepts and has already outspent Breslin's campaign two to one, leaving him with about $55,000 in the bank.
Speaking of expenditures, I feel these items get a little lost when we all focus on how much people are taking in. I'm curious about what these candidates are doling out. Reports show that Breslin has been spreading the wealth to local Democratic committees and community associations. I'm not sure if this is common practice, but even if it is it sure looks like good old fashioned political patronage to me, and I find it inronic that Breslin is using all that insurance money to buy, well, more insurance.
On the other hand, Martland's spending reads like a virtual shopping list from a step by step how to run a local election instruction manual. These reports show us a candidate building a serious campaign from the ground up, and they prove beyond all doubt that Breslin has a truly serious challenger this year.
The Times Union's Capitol Confidential also lets us know that the Republicans, in Robert Domenici, have just $8,000 under their belt so far, which is, of course, not enough. But Martland's amount might be enough in such an anti-incumbent year and even against such odds when one considers where Breslin's cash comes from. Even CapCon and the other mainstream-media run blogs are running that meme now...
Breslin’s haul includes tens of thousands in corporate donations from insurance companies and affiliated political action committees, a fact that you can bet Martland — who has already assailed Breslin of being too cozy with the insurance companies he’s supposed to be regulating as chairman of the Senate’s Insurance Committee — will try to hammer home over the course of the summer.
...and that's the fact more significant than any dollar figure or signature count. If Martland's message is able to catch hold, it could very well make up for Breslin's monstrous financial advantage. Either way, this looks like it will be Breslin's toughest re-election fight of his career, his race to lose, and will remain the biggest political news story of Albany County in 2010.