Campaign finance records filed with the state up to Oct. 4 show Republican town supervisor candidate Ed Romaine has amassed a fund of almost $100,000 more than his Democratic opponent Brian Beedenbender.
Records show Romaine, R-Center Moriches, has $142,648.60 cash on hand while Beedenbender, D-Centereach, has $43,711.11, though both candidates say those amounts have grown since the filing date.
Romaine called his fundraising lead an indicator that his campaign is running successfully so far. "What that says is that we have a broad base of support in every section of the town," he said.
Romaine and Beedenbender are vying for the supervisor seat vacated by Mark Lesko, who left Brookhaven in September to head Accelerate Long Island after winning re-election last November.
Despite the financial disparity about a month away from Election Day, Beedenbender said he doesn't see this as a disadvantage.
"We don’t expect finances to be an issue," he said. "We expect to have more than enough to run our campaign [and] spread our message to the voters."
The two candidates are holding similar average individual donations – $293 per donor for Romaine and $281.53 for Beedenbender – along with similar average corporate donations – $377.31 for Romaine and $366.67 for Beedenbender.
Political action committee support is where the two campaigns begin to diverge: Among Romaine's largest donors are Friends of Dan Panico ($10,000), Friends to Elect Tim Mazzei ($5,000), and Suffolk County Association of Municipal Employees ($5,000). Friends of Ed Romaine, the candidate's county legislative campaign fund, donated $6,250. Beedenbender has picked up donations from Patricia Eddington for Town Clerk ($1,000) and Bill Lindsay for County Legislator ($1,000).
Romaine, a former county clerk who currently serves as the county legislator representing the First Legislative District, said this campaign differs from his previous ones in that he didn't have to raise this kind of cash. "This is a different campaign. There’s a lot of people in town that I don’t represent in the legislature, so we have to get the word out," he said.
Beedenbender, who previously served a term in the county legislature, said the process of fundraising for a campaign to run Brookhaven is hugely different from the legislative campaign. Brookhaven has close to half a million people living in it, while Beedenbender's previous legislative district had about 88,000 people. "The real answer is just more work, and that’s ok because hard work is my specialty," he said.
Both candidates have said the supervisor race is somewhat overshadowed by the presidential race happening concurrently, to the point where many people don't realize there's a supervisor race taking place. But the time crunch is also a problem.
"The bigger issue is that we don’t normally run [campaigns] in 60-day sprints," Beedenbender said.