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Cunningham racks up donations

Former supervisor has sizable war chest when compared to Town Board opponents

— As September primaries near, one candidate for Bethlehem Town Board has already vastly out raised his competition.

Jack Cunningham will face off against newcomer Bill Reinhardt for the Democratic ballot line in November’s General Election. As of a July mandatory financial report, the former supervisor had collected more than $12,600 in donations and still had about $8,700 on hand. In comparison, Reinhardt collected about $425 and was $2,010 in the red.

“I think we’re doing good,” said Cunningham. “I had funds from other campaigns as well, so I guess (fundraising) started back in May. Right now I have enough funds to get the campaign off the ground and get it rolling

Cunningham has the endorsement of both the town Democratic and Independence Parties, while Reinhardt, a member of the Bethlehem Reform Democrats group, is running on the Democratic line and is endorsed by the Working Families Party.

The winner will face Republican Jeremy Martelle — who also has the endorsement of the town’s Conservatives — to serve the remaining year of the Town Board seat term currently held by appointee George Lenhardt. Martelle had raised about $250 with $195 still on hand as of the latest financial disclosure report.

All three candidates have said they plan to take on a more grassroots strategy to fundraising this year. Several people have offered to host house parties for Reinhardt in the coming weeks, while Cunningham has already started going door-to-door to speak with residents. Martelle said he will be doing low-key meet-and-greets and take a similar approach.

“I don’t believe money is everything at this level,” said Reinhart. “This is not like the national campaigns. What’s more important at this level is door-to-door word of mouth. I’m not real worried because I know I’m not going to get the same type of money as the others … (John) Clarkson and (Sam) Messina didn’t have a flashy campaign and it worked for them. Money doesn’t necessarily buy you victory in an election.”

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