ALBANY - Ten months before the 2018 state Senate elections, the financial picture for each of the Senate's three conferences is heated compared to where it was at this point in 2016.
Members of the majority Republican conference and their central fundraising accounts have raised a combined $4.28 million in the past six months and are sitting on a combined balance of $13.9 million. Two years ago, they raised $2 million and had $15.75 million.
Mainline Democrats raised $3 million and have $5.16 million on hand, compared to $2.46 million and $5.05 million.
And the members of the Independent Democrtatic Conference brought in $1.38 million and have $5.14 million in the bank. Two years ago - when the IDC had 5 members as opposed to its current eight - they had raised a little under $1 million and had $3.26 million.
As has been the case in the past, both Democrats and Republicans have substantial pockets of money unlikely to be spent on this year's campaigns, because the funds belong to former members who have since died or been indiceted. When the money is subtracted, the more realistic sum for mainline Democrtas would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $4.7 million, and for Republicans, $12.8 million.
Of course, the numbers 10 months before an election provide only a limited picture or what the races will eventually look like. The combined $24.2 million currently in Senate committees accounts for only a fraction of the $65 million or so that will ultimately be spent. Two years ago, Adam Haber, the eventual Democratic candidate in Senate District 7 on Long Island, had $10,347 in his campaign account at this point in the election cycle, and eventual Republican victor Elaine Phillips had yet to create a committee. This year, Phillips opp0nent Brad Schwartz has already raised $115,171 at this point.
But while these fundraising totals are anything but a perfet predictor of what November will look like, they are the best early indicator of how energetic various candidates will be. With that in mind, here's a look at the recent campaign finance reports in some key districts throughout the state.
Districts held by Democrats targeted by Republicans
Assuming Gov. Andrew Cuomo calls a special election, the first contested race will be for the Westchester seat recently vacated by County Executive George Latimer. Democratic nominee Shelley Mayer has raised $93,021 in recent months, and is sitting on a combined $185,232 in her Senate committee and an existing Assembly one. On the Republican side, attorney Sarmad Khojasteh has raised $128,555 and has $121,996, while former Yonkers inspector general Dan Schorr has yet to itemize any fundraising.
The only other Democratic-held seats considered possibly winnable by Republicans in the near future are both on Long Island. State Sen. John Brooks has received $94,388 in contributions in the past six months - more than he raised in the entirety of his campaign before the upset victory in 2016 - and has $106,290 in the bank. State Sen. Todd Kaminsky retained the status as one of Albany's top fundraisers, bringing in $332,434 and closing with a balance of $464,020.
So far, no Republican candidates have publically expressed interest to run for either of these districts.
Districts held by Republicans and targeted by Democrats
As in past elections, it's likely Democrats will focus their time and money on seats occuped by Republicans in New York City suburbs.
Not all of the incumbents whom Democrats have targeted in the past have been active fundraisers in recent months. In the Hudson Valley, state Sen. Terrence Murphy raised $122,103 and has $220,539, and state Sen. Sue Serino raised $27,699 and has $88,426. On Long Island, state Sen. Kemp Hannpn raised $117,00 and has $274,562, Phillips raised $74,513 and has $70,081; and state Sen. Carl Marcellino raised $2,000 and has $64,359.
Only two potential Democratic candidates reported significant hauls as of Friday afternoon, Murphy challenger Robert Kesten raised $50,237 and has $48,942, and Phillips foe Brad Schwartz brought in $115,171 and has $105,758. Additionally, Ryan Cronin, whom Hannon has defeated twice in the past three elections, gave his committee $5,000 and received a $2,500 donation.