Finance reports show plans

John Messer (l.) is focusing more campaign dollars on direct mailings than his opponent state Sen. Toby Stavisky, who is purchasing advertisements across a wider variety of mediums. Photos by Christina Santucci
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Recently released campaign finance reports for the state Senate seat based in downtown Flushing provided insight into the campaign strategies of state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone) and challenger John Messer, a businessman and lawyer from Oakland Gardens.

Since July 16, the last time each candidate had to disclose their financing, Messer has spent about $136,000, roughly 1 1/2 times Stavisky’s $82,000, although he is still drawing funds from a war chest that is almost entirely self-financed, according to the state Board of Elections.

Only two individuals gave Messer a total of $35 this time around. Messer also received $10,500 from five corporations, but none of them had an address listed in the district, and four of the five were not in Queens.

Earlier reports show no one else has donated to the campaign besides Messer, who gave himself $351,600.

Stavisky received about $11,000 from 22 individuals. She also received $2,000 from six corporations, only one of which was in the borough of Queens but not in the district, and raked in an additional $21,700 from businesses, unions and other politicians.

Both hopefuls spent a little more than $40,000 on campaign workers’ pay, but Messer outspent Stavisky in printing ads and direct mailings.

Messer pumped about $50,000 into print for direct mailings and advertising, spending more than half of that at Victoria Media Services in Bayside and also hiring a company called Mack Crounse Group, which lists itself as the “go-to firm for Democratic campaigns” and has provided mailers for President Barack Obama.

Messer has also put advertisements in several newspapers, including the Chinese-language publication Sing Tao daily and the Korean American Times.

Stavisky, on the other hand, spent about $33,000 on a variety of media.

She put $11,800 into advertising in six newspapers, all of which were either Chinese or Korean language publications, but did not spend cash on any direct mailings, which made up the bulk of Messer’s print expenditures.

Stavisky also spent $4,000 on radio ads at a Korean and a Chinese station.

The longtime lawmaker also dropped $17,500 on television ads, again targeting ethnic stations.

A prominent Flushing developer, F&T Group, held a cocktail party for Stavisky. The firm, responsible for the Queens Crossing Building and the plans to build Flushing Commons on Municipal Lot 1, dropped $600 on the soirée.

Stavisky is using The Parkside Group, where her son is a partner, as her political consulting firm. The firm is closely associated with the Queens Democratic Party, but no expenses were paid out to Parkside in the latest round of filing.

Messer listed several expenditures at Cottage Consulting, a Sunnyside political firm associated with former Republican City Councilman Dennis Gallagher.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Posted 10:32 pm, August 22, 2012
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Reader feedback

Steve from Flushing says:
Stavisky didn't spend much on direct campaign mail because she mailed tax-payer funded literature to all voters. This is unethical and a cheap election ploy.

It's time to put an end to career politicians. especially when Stavisky's campaign is run by special interests.
Aug. 23, 2012, 11:44 am

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