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May 20, 2019

NYS attorney general candidates Wofford and James neck-and-neck in money race

October 8, 2018
In the battle for state attorney general, Republican (L) Keith Wofford and Democrat (R) Letitia James are neck-in-neck when it comes to campaign cash, new filings show. (AP/ Pool)

The following is an expanded version of the second item from my “Albany Insider” column from Monday’s print editions:

ALBANY — In the battle for state attorney general, Republican Keith Wofford and Democrat Letitia James are neck-in-neck when it comes to campaign cash, new filings show.

Wofford, a corporate lawyer and first-time candidate, reported late last week having a little more than $400,000 remaining while James has about $384,000.

Wofford since mid July spent just under $1.4 million on his campaign, including $1.1 million toward a planned $3.25 million ad campaign.

He reported having received $755,363 in donations since his July, including $300,000 from the state Republican party.

He also personally loaned his campaign $50,000 and laid out an additional $31,000 in-kind contribution for travel expenses.

Since mid July, Wofford has received $35,000 each from Home Depot founder Kenneth Langone and Steve Hornstein, founder and chief investment officer of Global Credit Advisers.

He also received $20,000 from Manhattan GOP Chairwoman Andrea Catsimatidis, who is the daughter of John Catsimatidis, who heads Red Apple Group, which also gave Wofford $20,000.

Wofford also received $13,374 from billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer and $5,000 from businesses turnaround expert Harry Wilson, a Republican who considered running for governor this year against Gov. Cuomo.

Overall, Wofford’s campaign brought in about $1.8 million since entering the race in May.

James, who unlike Wofford had to run in a primary, reported since her Sept. 23 post primary filing raising $320,294 and spending $210,379 —including $100,000 on TV ads.

With the state considering legalizing marijuana, James received $44,000 from MM Enterprises USA, a California-based cannibas company.

She also received $44,000 donations from the Mason Tenders’ District Council of Greater NY PAC and the Empire Dental PAC.

In addition, she got $25,000 from Scott Rechler, head of RXR Realty and a big Cuomo donor who was appointed by the governor to the MTA board, and $10,000 from the Real Estate Board Political Action Committee representing landlords.

James also received $22,000 from the state teachers union PAC and $10,000 from Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s PAC.

“We are in great shape for November,” Wofford campaign manager O’Brien Murray said. “We have the momentum while Letitia James is still recovering from her primary.”

Accusing James of avoiding debates and interviews, Murray said that she’s “running a campaign that includes more dodging than a kids dodgeball game.”

James campaign spokesman Jack Sterne shot back that “Wofford can fundraise all he wants, but it doesn’t change the fact that he supports Trump’s divisive agenda, from women’s rights, to immigrant’s rights, to the environment.”

“Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation showed that Republicans in Congress are aiding and abetting Trump — and New Yorkers need an Attorney General who will hold him accountable, not one who has embraced him,” Sterne said.

A recent Siena College poll had James leading Wofford by 14-points.

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