As political hopefuls across the county clamor for donations to fill their respective campaigns’ war chests, Norman Rosenblum, a candidate for Westchester County legislator, has taken a hands-off approach.
With Election Day quickly approaching, Rosenblum, the village of Mamaroneck’s outspoken Republican mayor, who is hoping to unseat incumbent county Legislator Catherine Parker, a Rye Democrat, said he has yet to raise a single dime for his campaign. Rosenblum also told the Review that he has yet to even formalize a campaign committee capable of accepting donations or spending money.
Though unorthodox, Rosenblum’s decision not to create a committee for filing expenditures or contributions still falls within proper campaign finance guidelines. According to a representative for the New York state Board of Elections, BOE, a committee only has to be formed if a candidate accepts or spends $1,000 or more on a campaign.
Jake Dilemani, a political consultant working on Parker’s campaign, said Rosenblum’s decision not to move forward with fundraising stands as an outlier amongst other races.
“It’s certainly unusual for someone running for office in the general election to not yet have complied with the basic task of opening the appropriate committee,” he said. “Generally speaking, it’s late in the game to be starting from square one.”
According to filings with the state BOE, Parker, a two-term incumbent representing the county’s 7th District, has managed to raise more than $27,000 for her re-election campaign, and has already spent a little more than $11,000 of that money.
Parker said she’s pleased with her efforts so far but declined to comment on her opponent’s lack of fundraising. “I feel like we’re in a good place going forward,” she said. “We had one fundraiser in April and people have been supportive all the way through.”
Rosenblum, who likened summer campaigning this early to putting Christmas decorations out before Thanksgiving, said although he plans to start asking for donations after Labor Day, he’s unfazed by the financial disparity with Parker.
“I have no worries whatsoever,” he said. “You can’t buy an election; hopefully.”
While he plans to use money for billboard ads and mailers, Rosenblum said, he’ll be taking most of his campaigning cues from the likes of President Barack Obama, who in 2008 and 2012 heavily leveraged the use of social media.
“[Money] is a tool that helps, but all that I need to do is get my message out,” he said.
During his tenure as mayor, Rosenblum has fostered a loyal constituency in a primarily Democratic village, and has proven a stalwart in Mamaroneck where—despite consistent Democratic challenges—he has remained seated at the dais for four consecutive terms.
Regardless, for Rosenblum, toppling Parker on a county stage is his biggest political challenge to date.
In similar county races in the area, relatively unknown challengers have been effective in fundraising so far. Damon Maher, a New Rochelle Democrat, has raised more than $12,000 in his candidacy to defeat incumbent county Legislator Sheila Marcotte, an Eastchester Republican. And Nancy Barr, a Rye Brook Democrat, has raised $15,000 in her race against county Legislator David Gelfarb, a Rye Brook Republican.
The county’s 7th District encompasses the city of Rye, the town and village of Mamaroneck, the village of Larchmont, and portions of the city of New Rochelle and the town/village of Harrison. County legislators are elected to serve two-year terms.
Tony Sayegh, a political strategist with Fox News and News12, could not be reached for comment as of press time.