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Huntley leads Sanders in fund-raising battle

State Sen. Shirley Huntley (l.) has a fund-raising advantage over City Councilman James Sanders ahead of the Sept. 13 Democratic Party primary.
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State Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Jamaica) outraised and outspent her Democratic Party primary challenger last month, though City Councilman James Sanders (D-Laurelton) has a competitive war chest with just a few weeks until the polls open.

According to campaign-finance disclosure filings with the state Board of Elections, Huntley raised more than $18,000 and spent about $8,000 during the last filing period, leaving her with just more than $33,000 in the bank as of Aug. 13. During that same period, Sanders raised close to $10,000 and spent nothing, leaving him with more than $25,000 on hand, filings show.

Huntley picked up modest donations from political allies such as state Sens. Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans), Tom Duane (D-Manhattan) and Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) and borough president hopeful Melinda Katz, as well as union support from Local 32BJ, the state Association of Electrical Workers and DC 37’s political action committee.

The incumbent, who backed the gay-marriage vote after voting no in 2009, also received contributions from the Human Rights Campaign and a $4,750 check from LGBT activist Ted Snowdon.

She spent her money on advertising, campaign consultation, a luncheon for seniors, donations to the 101st Precinct’s National Night Out as well as to a Rockaway teen’s funeral.

Huntley has not exactly hit the ground in her district. She raised just $125 from individuals in her district and $3,500 from local businesses.

Sanders may be making a play for southeast Queens’ South Asian community, which is fractured among several Senate districts, with the opening of his campaign office Saturday at 134-03 Liberty Ave. in Richmond Hill.

With the exception of one $25 donation, all of the individual contributions to Sanders’ campaign have come from within the district.

Sanders picked up some cash from United Food and Commercial Workers Local 338 and the city truck drivers union, Local 983.

One peculiar donation — and a sizable one at that — came from Epic Pharma, a Laurelton manufacturer of generic drugs. The facility is just outside the boundary of the contested Senate district, but that did not stop the company from forking over $5,000 to the Sanders for Senate fund.

Neither Huntley nor Sanders returned a request for comment.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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