Groundhog day is upon us and so are the fundraising filings of those candidates running for Rockland County Executive. After nearly 20 years in office current Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef is calling it quits. And in his wake, the scramble for Rockland County dollars, sense and votes is on.
Local politicians recently reported their first fundraising haul for the new year, and the race for Rockland’s next leader is shaping up to be one of the area’s major campaigns of interest. Resident reportorial gumshoe Dylan Skriloff, editor and associate publisher at the Rockland County Times, was one of the first to dig into the data and break down the numbers. Skriloff also recently broke the SpyText mini scandal — or “middle school moment” as one local publication called it — of candidate Dagan Lacorte. Up until his maximum exposure SpyText coverage, Lacorte was considered the squeaky clean front runner in the Rockland Executive race.
Only the second county executive to hold office since the post was created in 1985, Vanderhoef is stepping down with the county mired in financial distress after years of fast growth and exploding budgets. Vanderhoef most-recently ran for the New York State Senate seat for the 38th district in a special election against David Carlucci in 2010 — a seat vacated by the death of perennial area breadwinner Thomas Morahan.
With Carlucci’s win in that election, Vanderhoef’s cloak of invincibility was stripped and he would have faced off against the more conservative members of his own Republican Party in another run for county office.
Money matters, and so far Suffern Mayor Dagan Lacorte has demonstrated fundraising chops as well as a bit of new media savvy –even with his mistext — which certainly brought the mayor’s campaign back to earth. Lacorte declared a hair over $300,000 in cash on hand. Lacorte’s campagin reported spending some $70,000 in the six month filing period.
Skirloff ‘s article explored the connection between Lacorte and former Assemblyman Ryan Karben (D-Ramapo), who is wired deep into the Democratic Party. RCT reported that Karben appeared to be the largest individual and PAC donor to Lacorte’s cause.
Lacorte told RCT that, “while he appreciated Karben’s help, he did the vast majority of fundraising through his own efforts and not relying on Karben or anybody else.”
Number two fundraiser in the race is 17 year Rockland Legislator Ilan Schoenberger, who reported $209,293 cash on hand that mostly came from $100,000 Schoenberger loaned himself.
Ed Day, another Rockland Legislator, reported $104,164 cash on hand, while Former Spring Valley Justice David Fried, last to get in the race, is also trailing in the early fundraising phase. Fried reported $34,835 from individuals, $7,625 from corporations, and $7,500 from PACs, campaign funds and other similar sources.
Lacorte, Schoenberger and Fried are all running on Democrat side, while Day is the lone Republican.
See the Rockland County Times article Follow The Money! for a full breakdown on fundraising numbers.