By Tom Precious
ALBANY – The state’s politically potent union representing teachers has pumped $100,000 into the Erie County Democratic Party’s coffers, a portion of which is likely to help the financially struggling campaign of Democrat Michael Amodeo in next week’s state Senate race.
The New York State United Teachers union, which earlier this month cancelled a pro-Amodeo ad campaign that was to cost at least $150,000, donated the six-figure amount to the county party a week ago, according to campaign filings made public today.
While the union did not directly give the $100,000 to Amodeo, the county party can spend the funds on behalf of him – or any other candidates it may be trying to help elect next week. Jeremy Zellner, chairman of the Erie County Democratic Party, did not immediately return calls for comment this afternoon.
Local members of NYSUT have been conducting phone calling operations and neighborhood canvassing on behalf of Amodeo and the statewide NYSUT union based outside Albany has endorsed him over incumbent Sen. Mark Grisanti. The union, among its priorities, is hoping to get changes to the state’s property tax cap law; Amodeo has said he would support changing the provision that now calls for 60 percent of voters' approval for an override of the annual 2 percent cap to a simple majority of 50 percent plus one.
The $100,000 NYSUT donation dwarfed all other contributions the county party received the past three weeks; in all during the most recent reporting period, the party group raised $123,000.
Beyond the donation to the Erie County Democrats revealed on the party's disclosure to the state elections board, NYSUT’s campaign spending the past three weeks is unknown; the union’s latest campaign report, due last Friday, is still not posted yet on the election board’s web site.
taggedAlbany | Charles Swanick | Elections | Mark Grisanti | Mike Amodeo