Helming is one of six Republicans backed by the NYS Senate Republican Campaign Committee, though voters won't know until closer to the primary the details of that support
That the New York State Senate Republican Campaign Committee is behind Pam Helming in her pursuit of the 54th state Senate District seat is no secret. What remains under wraps is how much money the NYSSRCC is putting into the Helming campaign to ensure her seat in Albany. Helming’s campaign finance disclosures so far do not account for mailings, campaign lawn signs or whatever else is being paid by the NYSSRCC.
The issue has riled her opponents and has voters asking questions.
“Helming has received tens of thousands of dollars in the form of assistance from the Albany-based Senate Republican Campaign Committee and has not disclosed it on her campaign finance report,” charged former Assemblyman Sean Hanna of Webster, one of Helming’s rivals in the GOP primary for the 54th. He and Ontario County businessman Floyd Rayburn, another GOP contender, characterize Helming as the candidate of “the Albany establishment.”
It is “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,” said Rayburn.
Five Republicans will appear on the GOP primary ballot for the 54th District seat Sept. 13, and a sixth Republican is running a write-in campaign for the hotly contested seat long held by state Sen. Michael Nozzolio, R-Fayette, who is not seeking re-election.
Helming, a first-term Canandaigua town supervisor, makes no apologies for being the candidate chosen by county, state and other Republican committees .
“On May 25, after five rounds of voting by more than 300 local Republican committee members, I was honored to win the Republican endorsement,” she said in response to questions about NYSSRCC support. “I am proud to accept the support from our town, county and state Republican committees.”
But neither Helming nor her campaign staff say how much the NYSSRCC has poured into her primary race. The data will be in the final report due before the primary, which follows the time frame allotted by state Board of Election rules, said Scott Reif with the Helming campaign.
According to the state Board of Elections, campaign spending by the NYSSRCC shows up through its committee filings. The NYSSRCC backs six Senate candidates according to its website: Helming; Chris Jacobs; Julie Killian; Chris McGrath; Elaine Phillips; and Jim Tedisco. Through its committee filings with the state Board of Elections, it shows an amount several candidates received in support. Helming is not among them.
Jan Sharp, a Republican voter in Manchester, said she sees a lot of Helming campaign signs and other evidence of money being spent on the campaign and yet no details about NYSSRCC support.
“Every candidate needs to be accountable for their campaign's contributions and expenditures,” said Sharp. She is frustrated the information is not accessible and she doesn’t know if it has been filed through the state Board of Elections.
Helming’s filing for the 32-day Pre Primary Report with the New York State Board of Elections, 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. This report does not tell NYSSRCC backing because that information is filed through the committee’s report.
Reif said NYSSRCC spending for the campaign occurred after the Aug. 8 cutoff date for the latest filing Aug. 12. The next report, for spending that occurred until Aug. 29, must be filed Sept. 2. This report, called the 11-Day Pre-Primary, will show the amount, he said.
“We expect it to show up 10 days before primary,” Reif said. When asked what that spending amount is expected to be, even a ballpark figure, Reif wouldn’t say. “All the information is being compiled,” he said.
In responding to questions about campaign finance disclosure, Helming said “as far as campaign filings and disclosures, my 32-day report is complete and accurate.”
On support from the NYSSRCC, she said mailings or signs purchased by the committee “must be reported as required by law” on the committee’s financial filings.
“With regard to mailings, the (NYSSRCC) postcards clearly indicate who has paid for them so that everyone knows where they originated and who is responsible for the content," she said.