As the election for Monroe County executive draws closer, Democrat incumbent Adam Bello has taken an advantage in campaign contributions.
Republican challenger Mark Assini had a hot start at the beginning of the year, raising nearly $100,000 in total contributions from January to early July. From the months of April to June, he received contributions from 172 donors. The October campaign disclosure reports, which document contributions from late July to early October, show a significant slowdown, with $34,000 across 36 contributors in that time period.
Bello’s contribution patterns show an opposite trend. A slow beginning to the year with only $29,000 raised was reversed with a strong October report period of over $150,000 in contributions. September was particularly good for the current county executive, with 231 donations at a consistent rate for the month.
Bello has collected and spent more than his opponent so far. Since January, there are gaps of $50,000 in contributions and $280,000 in spending between the Democrat and Republican candidates. According to disclosure reports, total money on hand between the camps shows a nearly $300,000 difference in favor of Bello.
Bello’s largest donation of $20,000 came from the CWA District One Pac, a union representing workers in the communications and information industries. Other unions supporting Bello monetarily include the Rochester chapters of the IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers), IUOE (International Union of Operating Engineers), NASRCC (North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters) and SEIU (Service Employees International Union).
Individuals who gave significant contributions to the Democratic candidate were real estate developers Andrew Gallina, Nelson Leenhouts, Daniel Goldstein and Stephen Ashley; technology executive Justin Copie; Colleen Wegman, Wegmans CEO; and Naomi Silver, owner of the Rochester Red Wings baseball team.
The Republican candidate found multiple donors in members of the Bucci family, who founded and operate American Rock Salt Co. Other individuals who gave large amounts are Christian Curts, founder of Christian Flooring, and entrepreneur Philip Saunders.
Most of Assini’s non-individual contributions came from businesses. Newmark Development Co., Boulder Point Developers Inc. and Legacy Motorcar Co., along with chimney and fireplace company, Four Winds Masonry, were the biggest givers among businesses.
Most of Bello’s contribution support came from ZIP codes in the southeastern part of Monroe County. ZIP codes in the southern part of Rochester, Pittsford and Brighton accounted for more than 40 percent of the Democrat’s donor count. ZIP codes in Penfield and Fairport also gave at greater rates to Bello as well.
Assini’s donor advantage was in the western part of Monroe County. ZIP codes in the towns of Gates and Greece had nearly a quarter of all contributors for the Republican campaign. Other areas where Assini saw moderate success were overshadowed by Bello’s more successful efforts.
Donors from ZIP codes outside of Monroe County accounted for 17 percent of Bello’s contributors and 10 percent of Assini’s.
Likely thanks to his already sizable opening balance acquired before this election cycle, Bello has also outspent Assini, $390,000 to $100,000. The majority (72 percent) of that money went to the Balduzzi Group, a Victor-based political consulting agency, for television advertisements. Campaign literature, mailings and fundraising events at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center and Black Button Distillery were other significant campaign spends.
Similarly, Assini spent most of his expenditures (81 percent) on ads from Growth Marketing Rochester, an LLC led by Arnold Rothschild, a long-time political strategist and chairman of the Rochester Broadway Theater League. Fundraising event costs were for gatherings held by Assini at Pane Vino and Brook-Lea Country Club.
Jacob Schermerhorn is a Rochester Beacon contributing writer and data journalist. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected].