TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y.—The primary for Democratic and Republican candidates for the US House of Representatives is beginning to take shape in Tompkins County, which is represented by the newly-drawn 22nd Congressional District in New York.
The Federal Elections Commission’s first finance reporting deadline of 2022, showing donations and expenditures for the year’s first quarter, was on April 15, showing financial figures through March 31 (see all candidate data here). Democrats are leading the way so far, with Josh Riley, Francis Conole and Vanessa Fajans-Turner representing the three highest donation recipients. Republicans Mike Sigler and Brandon Williams round out the top five of the eight total candidates across both parties running for the seat.
This article will precede a deeper dive into where each candidates’ donations are coming from, both geographically and the size of donation being made.
The Democratic field is fairly crowded. There are seven candidates listed, though Anthony Brindisi, who lost an extremely close NY-22 election under its former district lines in 2020 to Republican Claudia Tenney, has announced several times that he is not running for the House of Representatives this year. Tenney has relocated and is running for the newly-drawn NY-23 Congressional district.
That leaves six other candidates, but even with four more candidate options than Republicans, it has not seemed to dilute donations.
Josh Riley, an area attorney who relocated to Ithaca prior to the race, has a fairly comfortable lead among all other candidates, regardless of party, pulling in over $775,000 dollars as of March 31. Francis Conole is second, with $663,234.47 raised, but has actually spent more than Riley so far—Conole has spent just over $300,000, while Riley has spent $226,987.30.
Environmental advocate Vanessa Fajans-Turner is in third place, among Democrats and overall, with $250,431.17 raised and has also spent the third most, with $98,933.10 in expenditures.
Other Democratic candidates are lagging behind Republicans, though Sarah Klee Hood and Sam Roberts all managed to pull in tens of thousands of donations in their own right.
The Republican race is one-on-one: Tompkins County Legislator Mike Sigler versus Cayuga County businessman and Navy veteran Brandon Williams. Sigler has a pronounced fundraising lead between the two of them (and fourth overall), surging to $192,924 raised, while Williams has raised $116,603.
A large note, though: Williams has actually declared victory during the first quarter of fundraising, since a significant portion of Sigler’s fundraising stemmed from $125,000 in loans he has given his own campaign (Williams has also given his campaign a loan, but only abut $3,000). Basically, what that means is in terms of contributions, Williams received $95,888.06 during the first quarter of 2022, while Sigler received closer to about $68,000. Sigler does have significantly more cash on hand, but the larger loan number helps with that.
Williams did receive an extra $11,000 or so in contributions from the “Central New York PAC,” a committee that Williams set up that has received the bulk of its donations ($10,000) from the Team Brandon Victory Committee.
Meanwhile, Williams has spent $16,796.98—but Sigler has spent only $664.50, a paltry amount compared to anyone else in the race.
Sigler attributes this to being able to rely on volunteers for his campaign work.
“We had more than 550 volunteers giving their time to get the signatures to get us on the ballot,” Sigler said. “Other campaigns paid for that. We also have been sure of our message from day one, so we didn’t need a high-paid consultant to craft that. We were guided by our committee members’ decades of knowledge. Now it’s time to bring that message to a wider District 22 audience and I’m excited we have the money to do that and the ability to raise more.”