Two Republican contenders charge endorsed candidate Pam Helming is a puppet for Albany interests

Canandaigua Town Supervisor Pam Helming is taking a bashing from two of her Republican rivals in the crowded GOP primary race for the 54th state Senate seat: Ontario County businessman Floyd Rayburn and former Assemblyman Sean Hanna.

Her campaign response was to shoot right back.

Both men accuse Helming — who has been endorsed by all six county GOP committees in the 54th — of being a puppet for the state Republican establishment. Hanna cited evidence such as a Pam Helming State Senate campaign mailer sent to his residence from the New York Republican State Committee, yet Helming’s campaign finance disclosures with the state Board of Elections show no support from the state GOP.

Claiming Helming is “violating election law to hide Albany ties,” Hanna charged “Helming has received tens of thousands of dollars in the form of assistance from the Albany-based Senate Republican Campaign Committee (SRCC) (http://newyork.gop/) and has not disclosed it on her campaign finance report. Ms. Helming is the chosen candidate of the Albany establishment. They've brought her to Albany, invited her to sit in on closed door meetings of the Republican Senate conference, and have dumped tens of thousands of dollars worth of services into her campaign.”

Helming’s filing for the 32-day Pre Primary Report with the New York State Board of Elections (http://www.elections.ny.gov/) shows $13,479.25 total receipts, $7,881.47 in expenses and a $25,980.96 closing balance. Contributions include $,4,000 from Neighborhood Preservation PAC; $1,000 from Thoroughbred Horseman of WNY PAC; $250 from NYSEG RGE PAC; and $500 from Friends of Judge Bill Kocher. The filing does not show contributions from the New York Republican State Committee, Senate Republican Campaign Committee or related groups.

Rayburn blasted Helming for the same reasons.

Rayburn stated it has "become clear Pam Helming is having her campaign funded by the same Albany insiders who brought us higher taxes, a higher minimum wage and the most corrupt government in the nation.” Rayburn, owner of Hopewell-based F.G. Rayburn Mason Contractors, claimed Helming’s campaign finance disclosures “show little expenses although her campaign is spending money.

“Someone is paying for the mailings, the lawn signs, the phone calls, the Facebook advertising. If it’s not her then it must be coming from Albany,” charged Rayburn.

Hanna claimed Helming failed to report SRCC (http://www.nysenategop.net) backing for holding a “tele-town hall meeting” on or about August 1, 2016 and providing photography and/or video services earlier in the summer. Hanna also claimed Helming failed to report SRCC money used to retain “expensive legal counsel to help get Wayne County combat veteran Joe Geiger and Cayuga County businessman Bobby Massarini kicked off the ballot.”

Geiger and Massarini were bumped from the ballot after Helming supporters from Canandaigua, Republicans Adeline Rudolph and Gregory Westbrook, challenged their petitions. Rudolph and Westbrook were represented by Albany attorney Paul DerOhannesian of DerOhannesian & DerOhannesian (http://www.derolaw.com/).

Helming “is legally obligated to clearly report the receipt of those services— and their value — on her disclosure report. But she hasn't. She's trying to hide the fact that she's been purchased by Albany," stated Hanna, who was elected to the state Assembly in 2010 and lost the seat to Democrat Ted O’Brien in 2012. Hanna claimed Helming’s campaign follows “standard operating procedure for the Long Island Republicans who control the Senate in Albany.”

“They choose a candidate who won't rock the boat, they spend obscene amounts of money to get them elected, and then they own that Senator,” added Hanna, a former prosecutor in the Monroe County District Attorney’s office. “They're free to enact their downstate agenda. It's precisely how we ended up with the SAFE Act, a $15/hour minimum wage, the Paid Family Leave Act, and the highest tax burden in the nation. It's no wonder that Ms. Helming doesn't want to reveal that tie. But she's legally obligated to do it, and she's breaking the law by refusing."

Responding to the accusations through her campaign and spokesman Ryan Hoose, Helming shot back: "It's silly season, and the hypocrites are out in full force. Whether it's Sean Hanna violating the law by spending money improperly from the wrong campaign account, or Floyd Rayburn ignoring New York law and failing to pay his employees by hundreds of thousands of dollars, it’s clear that they only follow the law when they want to. And that's precisely what we don't need in Albany.”

Both men counter-attacked.

“Pam Helming doesn’t have a good answer to who’s funding her campaign, so she takes the typical political insider move and tries to change the subject,” stated Rayburn. “It’s sad and unfortunate that she doesn’t want the people of this district to know the truth. She’s has sold out to Albany and Downstate interests."

Stated Hanna: “When I was a criminal prosecutor, we'd call that answer 'non-responsive.' Any money spent on my behalf has come from my one and only campaign account, and its origins are clearly identified."