Former Erie County Executive Chris Collins is funding his race for Congress in the 27th Congressional district against Iraq War Vet David Bellavia with a $250,000 loan he made himself, according to federal campaign filings released today.
Collins’ receipts show he has only five other individual donors to his campaign besides himself since March 26, 2012.
The Collins campaign has $176,178 in cash on hand, which is still more than the $30,000 Bellavia has raised, according to U.S. News and World Report.
In a phone interview, Bellavia adviser Michael Caputo asserted that Collins has been trying to fundraise, but has been experiencing difficulty because of donor anger over Collins’ decision to withdraw $800,000 in campaign funds he loaned himself in his race last year against Mark Poloncarz for Erie County Executive. Collins relied on $1.2 million in donor contributions to fund the race, the Buffalo News reported.
The Collins campaign said that was not the case.
“Collins made a point to fund the primary campaign on his own, and he’ll be aggressively fundraising if he wins the primary election,” said a campaign advisor.
Collins’ campaign against Bellavia hasn’t been smooth sailing, necessarily, even though he received the Conservative Party endorsement. In April, Bellavia was endorsed by State Sen. George Maziarz. The Buffalo News wrote that Collins’s performance in the primary is inextricably tied to his work on Assemblywoman Jane Corwin’s campaign for Congress against Kathy Hochul last year:
“There’s a reason for this. It hearkens to the Collins role in the 2011 congressional candidacy of his friend and supporter — Assemblywoman Jane Corwin. Top Republicans in those outlying counties, not used to losing, are still smarting over dropping a seat they were supposed to win.
And when the same campaign team accompanied the county executive to defeat last November, most GLOW (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming) types thought the Collins era had ended.”
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