Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst again led the field in both campaign contributions and spending over the last two months, far outpacing her Republican opponent, Linda Kabot, and surpassing even the two major parties.
Ms. Throne-Holst took in $38,705 in contributions, mostly in large sums donated by wealthy second-home owners that her opponent says were solicited by one of the organizers of the massive beach rebuilding project under way in Bridgehampton and Sagaponack.
Ms. Kabot raised $25,744 during the same period, mostly from donations of less than $200 each, according to mandatory disclosure filings for each candidate released by the New York State Board of Elections earlier this month.
Ms. Throne-Holst’s coffers grew in broad strides over the summer: she received 25 donations of $1,000 or more, 18 of them for more than $1,500 each. Most of those big checks came from donors with listed addresses in the New York City metro area, though some also are listed on the tax rolls of the Bridgehampton and Sagaponack beach erosion control districts, which means they own oceanfront homes in the region where the beach is being nourished with sand.
“I’m satisfied with the way things are going,” Ms. Throne-Holst said. “I think that the way to look at it is that I have as many small contributions as I have large contributions. Dollar amounts are relative, depending on who is making the donation. We’re seeing strong support across the spectrum.”
In contrast to her opponent, Ms. Kabot reported just two donations of $1,000 or more in the latest filing cycle: $1,000 from a Water Mill resident, Mitchel Steir, and $1,500 from Southampton developer and businessman George Benedict. She logged more than 200 smaller donations of $500 or less from individuals, including more than $2,200 in unitemized donations of $99 or less.
Ms. Kabot pointed to her donations as signs of more support for her campaign from likely voters in next month’s elections.
“In the Newsday endorsement interview, [Ms. Throne-Holst] seemed proud to be the representative of the people who don’t feel they have a voice in Town Hall, the second-home owners,” Ms. Kabot said. “My campaign is grass roots. It’s the regular people of the town giving what small amount they can afford to support my campaign, because they want representation in Town Hall that speaks for them.”
Ms. Kabot has been on the offensive against Ms. Throne-Holst’s large fundraising account since the very earliest days of the campaign, when she leveled accusations of impropriety because the supervisor’s war chest still contains money given to her inappropriately by donors who exceeded the maximum individual contribution of $1,900 during the 2011 election cycle. Ms. Throne-Holst said refund checks have been issued from the campaign, but many have not been cashed, and the fund is not using any of the money identified as having exceeded the contributions limits in 2011.
As this year’s campaign ramped up over the summer, Ms. Throne-Holst also far outpaced her opponent and the rest of the field in campaign spending. She logged more than $48,000 in campaign expenditures, according to her public filings. Of that, some $29,000 was spent on political consultation with East Hampton firm Mullen & McCaffery, though Ms. Throne-Holst said her campaign recently ended its relationship with the firm, and that she expects some of the money to be refunded. In addition to campaign strategy consulting, the firm does political polling, but Ms. Throne-Holst said her campaign did not contract for any polling.
Ms. Kabot spent $22,479 during the same period, mostly on print advertising and promotional materials.
As the race enters the home stretch, Ms. Kabot is at a substantial financial disadvantage to her opponent, with just under $11,000 remaining in her coffers, compared to Ms. Throne-Holst’s more than $43,000. But Ms. Kabot, who served as supervisor from 2007 to 2009 and is mounting her fourth campaign for the office, the third against Ms. Throne-Holst, said she will make up for what she lacks in financial support with strategy and elbow grease.
“How you get elected is not slick advertising and hiring political consultants,” she said. “I need to have more boots on the ground, more direct mailings, more time at the grocery store. Skip Heaney had big money, Jim Henry had big money, and we beat them with meet-and-greet, talking to the people who are the likely voters.”
Hampton Bays banker Stan Glinka, a Republican candidate for Town Board, was the leading fundraiser among the four council candidates, and a prodigious donor himself to his running mates and the party.
Mr. Ginka raised more than $23,500 in July and August and spent $36,300, much of it in contributions to other Republican candidates and donations to various local community organizations. He spent $11,000 on a fundraising event at Edgewater Restaurant in Hampton Bays. Mr. Glinka still has nearly $16,000 on hand to spend with less than 20 days until the election.
His running mate, Jeff Mansfield, was the biggest spender in the council race, by far, ringing up nearly $39,000 in expenditures, despite raising just over $2,200 in contributions during the most recent reporting cycle. Mr. Mansfield and his immediate family have loaned his campaign some $20,000 since he declared himself a candidate, including a $10,000 personal loan during the last reporting period.
Mr. Mansfield is also the only candidate who appears to be employing campaign workers, reporting the expenditure of $7,500 on “wages” for three individuals on his most recent report. Mr. Mansfield has $4,475 remaining in his campaign account
Democratic candidate and current Deputy Supervisor Frank Zappone reported raising $9,650 in the current cycle. He spent $6,461, mostly on campaign advertising, and has about $3,500 still on hand.
His running mate, Independence Party member Brad Bender, who narrowly lost election to the council in 2011, has more than $9,300 left in his campaign fund for the home stretch. He raised $6,271 in the last reporting cycle, including a $1,900 donation from the state service workers union, and spent almost an equal amount on advertising and donations.
The Democratic Party will have the most money to spend in support of its candidates the election approaches. The party raised $37,589 in the last reporting cycle, thanks in large part to a $20,000 contribution from patron of the arts, Dorothy Lichtenstein. The widow of the late artist, Roy Lichtenstein, has made similar contributions to the local Democrats each election cycle for many years. The party has more than $32,000 left in its coffers for the closing weeks of the campaign.
The Republican Party campaign fund took in $32,256 over the summer, though $11,751 of that came from contributions to the party from the campaign funds of its candidates. Mr. Glinka’s robust campaign fund transferred $5,000 to the party’s war chest.
The town’s newly organized chapter of the Independence Party continued it ascension as a political force, making its first-ever contributions report. The party took in $10,000 in contributions—all from a single source, Bridgehampton resident Jeff Lignelli, who made two contributions to the party, one in his name and one in the name of a corporation of which he is the principal. The party, guided by the head of its newly formed committee chairman, State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., used its new financial power to conduct polling of the race, though Mr. Thiele would not get into specifics about what the polls showed.
“The poll bears out the fact that Southampton is a very, very competitive town as far as politics goes, and all of these race are going to be close,” Mr. Thiele said. “It’s pretty clear that whoever can convince the independent and undecided voters to support them is going to be successful.”
The largest “minor” party gave $1,000 of its funds to the Democratic Party but has endorsed a carefully balanced slate of candidates on the November ballot: four Independents, four Republicans and four Democrats.
Mr. Thiele said that in its first turn at throwing party weight, and financing, behind its candidates the focus in the coming weeks will be on supporting the five candidates the party supported for Southampton Town Trustees: Independence Party member Bill Pell, Democrats Eric Shultz and Howard Pickerell, and Republicans Ed Warner Jr. and Scott Horowitz.
The Trustees race has taken on a never-before-seen position on the fundraising stage also. In a rare break from the typical elections past, Town Trustees candidate Scott Horowitz, a Republican, was among the campaign’s top fundraisers. Mr. Horowitz took in approximately $21,700 in contributions. One, from South Shore Dock Inc., reached the $1,900 maximum, nearly unheard of in a Trustees election. Mr. Horowitz spent freely, about $16,300, mostly on print advertising.
Another Republican candidate for Trustees, Ray Overton, was also a big fundraiser, bringing in more than $9,100 in contributions.
Democratic Trustees candidate John Bouvier raised nearly $2,300 in this cycle and spent about $2,200, leaving him with close to $3,000 in his campaign account.
No other Trustees candidates have filed campaign contribution reports.