Big (Mostly GOP) Money in State Senate Races, Especially Maltese-Addabbo

McCain may be getting his ass spent off, but local Republican State Senate candidates are much better fixed: Politics on the Hudson counted up all the expenditures and finds that in the past three weeks, the GOP State Senate campaigns spent $3.2 million to the Democrats' $1.7 million.

Each party has its financially favored candidates, with the Dems partial to Richard Dollinger and the Reps larding Dave Renzi (with both these candidates behind in polls). But the Serphin Maltese-Joseph Addabbo Jr. race in Queens has consumed nearly $860,000, about 17 percent of the entire haul.

This is a heavyweight battle -- Maltese has been in Albany for 28 years; Addabbo is a city councilmember whose father, Joseph Sr., was a popular Congressman. Aside from party doctrine and the inevitable change vs. experience argument, the race has in recent weeks been touched by wrangling over the new Aqueduct "racino".

The project, expected to boost the district's economy, was pushed heavily by Albany Democrats at the behest of Governor Paterson. When Serafin waited on details of the deal before committing, Dem leader Malcolm Smith claimed Republican "foot-dragging" was costing the state money. The Daily Gotham set up a "Skelos Watch" online calculator (named after the Senate Majority Leader) to underline the point. Maltese eventually approved the deal.

Both candidates have been doing their constituent service bits; Maltese "secured" $100K in state money for security systems at local parochial schools, while Addabbo is pushing for passage of a Senate bill that would allow the state to bill banks for cleanups of foreclosed homes.

Addabbo has the backing of a number of unions, but Maltese has the big one: 1199 SEIU. The race is said to be close.

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