ALBANY, N.Y. – Gov. George Pataki has spent $1.9 million in the past three weeks to fend off third-party primary challenges from billionaire businessman B. Thomas Golisano, according to records to be filed with the state Friday.
The Republican governor faces a Sept. 10 primary against Golisano for the nomination of the Ross Perot-inspired Independence Party. While Golisano was the party's unsuccessful candidate for governor in 1994 and 1998, most of the party's current leadership is backing Pataki this year.
The Rochester-based businessman has also mounted a write-in primary challenge seeking to wrest the Conservative Party nomination away from Pataki. The governor ran with Conservative Party support in both 1994 and 1998. He has the backing of state Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long in this year's race as well.
Charles Halloran, Golisano's campaign manager, said his candidate's 11-day, pre-primary filing to the state Board of Elections wouldn't be available until later Friday.
Golisano, who has said he might spend up to $75 million on his campaign this year, has been spending money at a faster clip than Pataki, according to earlier filings, and there has been no let up in recent weeks in his heavy television advertising.
Among Pataki's potential Democratic opponents, state Comptroller H. Carl McCall reported raising $418,423 during the past three weeks. McCall said he had spent $2.6 million during the period and had $2.5 million on hand.
McCall's rival for the Democratic nomination, former federal Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo, reported raising $454,185 during the period. He said he had spent $2.77 million and had $3.3 million available.
The reports show Pataki has spent more than $8.2 million this year on the governor's race, McCall about $5.3 million and Cuomo almost $7.4 million.