Ulster Democrat gave $100 to GOP legislative candidate

Staff writer Paul Brooks wrote this blog post:

Democrat Elliott Auerbach, the incumbent county comptroller, may draw the ire of his party over a contribution to the challenger who beat out a Democratic candidate in a tight race for  Ulster County Legislature last November.

Republican Joe Maloney beat out incumbent Democrat Legislator Chris Allen by 141 votes out of the 2,619 cast in the race for District 2, the Saugerties area. The kicker is Democrats could have taken control of the county Legislature had Allen won, though he was not the only incumbent Democrat who lost a critical seat.

But party faithful say Auerbach is a party committee member as well as a candidate backed by the party. As such, Auerbach is not supposed to help the opposition, sources said. Money counts.

On Oct. 21, Auerbach made a contribution of $100 to Joe Maloney, according to state campaign disclosure records.

Auerbach said Friday he made the contribution to Maloney because he was a fellow candidate of the county Independence Party.  “I have a high regard for the caliber of people I support,” he said. “I want to support folks that I feel will come to the Legislature and be invested in good government. I will continue to do that regardless of what letter appears after their name.”

Allen noted that he had voted to cut the 2017 funding for the comptroller’s office.  He also noted that Maloney’s wife works in the comptroller’s office.

But Allen said Auerbach’s $100 contribution to Maloney was not a factor in the outcome of the election.  Records show he spent $3,780 and Maloney $3,445.  He said Maloney ran an “effective and impressive” campaign.

For the Democratic County Committee to act against Auerbach, someone has to file a complaint. “It will not be me,” Allen said. “I am going to let it go.”

County Democratic Party Chairman Frank Cardinale could not be reached for comment. Auerbach said he has not been contacted by the committee about the contribution, though he would have expected that by now if it were going to occur.

Party sources say the matter is not done yet.

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