By Chris Fuchs
Stavisky had raised a total of $125,878.61, according to state Board of Election records filed between November 1999 and Oct. 19.
The filings show that the senator received $6,100 in personal contributions, $13,500 from political action committees and $2,450 from businesses.
Stavisky faced no challengers in the Democratic primary. Her only opponent now is Josephine Jones, a former librarian and a candidate of the Green Party.
Seeking her first full term in Albany, Stavisky has two active campaign committees: Friends of Toby Stavisky, which she uses to receive contributions and pay expenses, and Stavisky for the Senate, a committee begun by her late husband, Leonard, in 1983 when he was senator. Stavisky was elected to the Senate last November after her husband, a state senator for more than three decades, died of a brain hemorrhage. He was 73.
The richer of the two committees, Stavisky for the Senate, had a balance of a little more than $100,000 in January. Disclosures filed 32 days before the November elections, however, showed that that balance had dipped to $69,209.61, owing to a loan and other expenditures the senator wrote out.
Specifically, Stavisky pledged a $25,000 loan and $2,350 in contributions to the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, or DSCC, a committee that dispenses funds to assist Democratic candidates in hopes of achieving a majority in the Senate. Other senatorial candidates, such as state Sen. Daniel Hevesi (D-Forest Hills), have followed suit with their own funding. Hevesi, in particular, doled out more than a fourth of his funds to the DSCC.
State Democrats are hoping to shepherd a Democratic majority into the Senate this election. In so doing, they have embraced a campaign mantra called “six and change”: that is, if Democrats can wrest away six seats this November, they can take control of the Senate. One of those seats belongs to state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose), a stalwart Republican who is being challenged this year by Democratic contender Rory Lancman. Should the Democrats gain those six seats back, the balance in the Senate would shift to 31 Democrats vs. 30 Republicans.
Jones' campaign finance filings show that she received $1,410 from six contributors, two of which were either organizations or businesses. Friends of Richard Jannaccio, a civic activist in Flushing who challenged Stavisky in the November 1999 election, wrote out a $100 check to the Friends of Josephine Jones on July 12. In addition, Jones received contributions from two individuals, one for $250 and another for $100.
Stavisky uses her late husband's committee solely for expenses, said Evan Stavisky, her spokesman and son. She transferred $7,700 on Sept. 16 into her other committee as well as made donations to other Democratic candidates, including Mike Gianaris, who is running for the 36th Assembly seat in Astoria and Ken Zebrowski, a candidate in the 38th state Senate District in Nanuet, N.Y., her filings showed. Both candidates received $1,000 in contributions from Stavisky.
The senator, whose district cuts a swath through northeast Queens from Flushing to Elmhurst, Woodside, and Sunnyside, has taken in much financial support from the Asian community. Jimmy Meng, the past president of the Flushing Chinese Business Association, made two contributions totaling $600, and John Liu, the president of the North Flushing Civic Association and a candidate for the City Council in 2001, gave $150, her filings show.
Most candidates invest their committee money in money market, savings and checking accounts. So, too, does Stavisky. But she also puts her money into financial instruments like bonds, an alternative route traveled by former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and Stavisky's late husband, among others. In particular, Leonard Stavisky would invest some of his campaign money into U.S. Treasury bonds, which typically yield higher rates of return than do bank accounts.