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111th Assembly race fought on the airwaves

Santabarbara and Quackenbush empty campaign coffers, largely through attack ads

New York State 111th Assembly District candidates Angelo Santabarbara (D-Rotterdam), left, and Thomas Quackenbush (R-Fort Plain).

New York State 111th Assembly District candidates Angelo Santabarbara (D-Rotterdam), left, and Thomas Quackenbush (R-Fort Plain).

— Both candidates for the newly redrawn 111th Assembly District are pulling few punches as Election Day approaches, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising, much of it attacking their opponent’s record.

A trail of press releases starts in September, when Tom Quackenbush, R-Fort Plain, and Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, began clashing on issues from taxes to general government management — or mismanagement. From there, claims have hit the airwaves and mailboxes in a flurry of campaigning fueled by donations.

Santabarbara had trailed Quackenbush in early fundraising efforts, but has now eclipsed his Republican opponent’s spending by a significant amount. Through required financial disclosures, Santabarbara’s campaign is seen spending more than $225,000, with most of the fundraising and spending coming in the past few weeks.

Quackenbush has spent roughly $130,000 since the September primary. Both campaigns had spent down their reserves as of the 11-day pre-election report — Santabarbara had about $11,000 on hand and Quackenbush had $6,000.

Santabarbara’s late-game boost was fueled in no small part by $197,500 in donations from the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee. His campaign spent a hefty portion of its war chest on television advertising: $205,000 worth.

Television also ended up being Quackenbush’s largest expense, too. His campaign dropped about $125,000 on TV time.

Neither candidate described his opponent’s campaign in positive terms. Quackenbush called his challenger’s “empty” and Santabarbara said he faced a “misleading” campaign. Quackenbush cast the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee contribution to Santabarbara in a negative light.

“If you look at his contributions … he has a difficult time raising money,” Quackenbush said. “His money is coming from Sheldon Silver and the Democratic Assembly Committee.”

Santabarbara said it was “natural” for him to receive support from the committee since he is a candidate running for the Assembly. He also pointed to Quackenbush receiving similar support from his party. Quackenbush reported collecting $85,000 from the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee in his recent filings.

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