What do Donald Trump and Charles Wait have in common?
No punch line here — the real estate mogul and the Adirondack Trust Co. president both contributed to Michael Rocque’s campaign for the GOP nomination against U.S. Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-Hudson.
The candidates for the 20th Congressional District have also racked up such noteworthy donors as artist Andrew Wyeth, who donated $1,000 to Sandy Treadwell’s campaign; Michael Bloomberg, the New York City mayor who favors Richard Wager for Congress; and Nina Zagat and Eugene Zagat Jr., the Zagat Survey co-founder and CEO, respectively, who supported Gillibrand with $2,300 each.
Incumbent Gillibrand was the leader last year with the most money raised, the most spent and still in the coffers. Her campaign raised $2.5 million and spent just over $560,000.
Of that, $1.8 million of the receipts came from individuals such as locals Angelo Calbone, chief executive officer of Saratoga Hospital; Gordon Boyd, who owns an energy consulting company and waged an unsuccessful campaign for city mayor; gallery owner Amejo Amyot; and John Franck and Ronald Kim, both public officials in Saratoga Springs who also own businesses.
Political action committees (PACs) contributed $628,000 to her campaign. Advanced Micro Devices PAC was one of them. AMD, which wants to build a computer chip plant in Malta, supported Gillibrand to the tune of $2,300.
Eight PACs also gave Gillibrand $10,000 each — AmericPAC, Carpenters Legislative Improvement Committee United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, Human Rights Campaign PAC, National Air Traffic Controllers Association, New Democratic Coalition PAC, PAC to the Future, Sheet Metal Workers International Association of Political Action League and the Women’s Political Committee.
Sandy Treadwell led the four Republican challengers with the most money raised — $1.2 million. Half of that — $620,000 — came out of his own pocket, making Treadwell the candidate who contributed the most to his own campaign.
He also raised the most money locally, getting a boost from Wait, who gave $2,300 compared to the $500 he gave Rocque, as well as Linda Toohey, vice president of Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce; Melinda Wormuth, Halfmoon supervisor; W.P. Dake and Gary Dake, president and vice president of Stewart’s Shops; John Cansdale, state Racing and Wagering Board executive director; Saratoga Springs Mayor Scott Johnson; Ballston Spa Mayor John Romano; Realtor John Roohan; Raymond O’Conor, Saratoga National Bank president; Samuel Pitcheralle, Saratoga County treasurer; and Thomas Newkirk, Saratoga National chief executive officer.
Treadwell, of Lake Placid, served as secretary of state under former Gov. George Pataki.
Wager and Rocque raised little money in the Saratoga Springs area..
The elongated district covers more than 200 miles from north to south, from Lake Placid to Poughkeepsie, and stretches west toward Cooperstown.
Wager, of Millbrook in Dutchess County, picked up almost $464,000 last year and spent almost half of it.
The 36-year-old served in the administrations of New York City mayors Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg.
Rocque, 49, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who lives in Clifton Park, raised $172,000 and spent $122,000.
And Republican John Wallace hasn’t worked to raise funds at all so far. Of the $59,000 he raised, he contributed $52,000 of it.
Wallace said he refuses to take money from political action committees and limits individual contributions to $76, far less than the federal limit of $2,300.
“I look at special interest money as bribery,” Wallace said.
“I think somebody can win without all that money and I think somebody can win without all that money from outside the district.”
Wallace, 64, of Chatham in Columbia County, is a retired state trooper and is now a real estate broker.
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