Tracy Mitrano J.D. ’95, the Democratic candidate for the New York 23rd Congressional District — which includes Tompkins County — announced Oct. 2 that her campaign raised $950,000 in the last quarter. If the number is confirmed by the Federal Elections Commission, it would be the most ever raised by a candidate for the House seat in New York’s 23rd district in the penultimate quarter of an election year.
The nearly $1 million reported by Mitrano would bring her total for the campaign to $1.1 million dollars, while her opponent, incumbent Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) has raised $2.6 million total for the election cycle up to June 30. Reed has not revealed the precise dollar amount that he raised this quarter, but he did tell The Sun in an interview on Tuesday that he raised over 3 million dollars in total during this cycle.
If confirmed, Mitrano’s third quarter gains would be higher than her Democratic predecessors Martha Robertson and John Plumb, who ran against Reed in 2014 and 2016. Even with the boost, however, Mitrano would still fall below the total amounts Robertson and Plumb raised at comparable points in their campaigns.
In a statement, Mitrano called the amount an “impressive milestone” and said that it signals a “groundswell of enthusiasm on behalf of our campaign,” according to Upstate Politics.
Mitrano, who won the Democratic nomination in July and emerged with less than $8,000 cash on hand, began her campaign with a significant financial disadvantage comparing to Reed, who started with $133,000 cash on hand and a broad donor base built up over years of incumbency, according to OpenSecrets.org, a research group dedicated to tracking money in U.S. politics.
Ninety-three percent of Mitrano’s campaign funds come from individual contributions, according to OpenSecrets, a fact Mitrano repeatedly touted as her grassroots strategy.
“The fact that we were able to raise nearly $1 million last quarter while rejecting corporate PAC money is a testament to this district’s readiness for change — and to the widespread energy that will translate to victory on Election Day,” Mitrano said in a press call following the announcement, according to Upstate Politics.
According to deputy campaign manager Ryan Quinn, although the total amount raised by Mitrano is still well under Reed’s, it will give them a platform to get their campaign’s message out.
“We knew that we wouldn’t be able to keep up with Tom Reed and the money he’s received from corporate PACs and special interests, but we knew we needed to raise enough money to get on the airwaves and to run a really great campaign,” Quinn told The Sun.
As of June 30, Mitrano had taken a total of $100 PAC money from the Alleghany County Democratic Committee, which she has used as a point of contrast with Reed, who has received $1.45 million from PACs in this election cycle, according to FEC filings.
“I have to conclude, based on the Congressman’s voting record, especially on matters of health care, health insurance, banking, and the environment, that these groups are getting their money’s worth,” Mitrano said in a statement on Sept. 26 affirming her rejection of PAC money.
Mitrano has also yet to receive any support from Democratic party committees, including the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the main funding arm of the national party. However, Quinn said the most recent funding might catch more attention from national donors.
“The amount of money that we’ve raised is definitely going to attract the attention of a lot of national groups, and we’re really excited that we’re getting that,” Quinn said, but emphasized that the campaign wouldn’t let that distract from their focus on people or increase reliance on outside donors.
Plumb and Robertson each received about $13,000 from the DCCC during their campaigns, according to FEC filings. Meanwhile, the Republican party committees contributed less than one percent of Reed’s total campaign funds.
Reed was elected and has maintained his current position since 2010. The New York 23rd District he currently represents is rated solid red by the Cook Political Report and went to Trump by 14.8 percent in the 2016 Presidential Election, according to Ballotpedia.
In an interview with The Sun, Reed expressed confidence in his campaign’s financial status, but showed little concern over Mitrano’s report, noting that many other democratic candidates across the country have raised over $3 million in the last quarter.
“The good thing is we’ve raised over $3 million, well over, so we’ll have the resources to get our position out, and that’s all I can ask for,” Reed told The Sun. “Tracy, her reporting that number gives her an opportunity to get her voice out, and all I’m looking for is to ensure that the voters are informed as to the different positions we have.”