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The 2012 Vote

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Hochul Hauled in Significant Family Cash on One Day

July 5th 2011

Politics - Kathy Hochul D-NY
Rep. Kathy Hochul, D-NY

A supportive family can make a difference in politics. For Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.), it made $50,000 worth of a difference—all in one day.

Hochul witnessed $50,000 in donations pour in on March 4, all from 10 identifiable siblings or people with the surname “Courtney”—her maiden name, research indicates. Hochul defeated Republican Jane Corwin and Independent Jack Davis in a May special election in New York’s 26th District.

Fabien Levy, Hochul’s press secretary, said the campaign was unaware of coordination that would have caused family members to donate on the same day, but that Hochul’s family was supportive throughout the campaign.

“They were very supportive of the campaign, and obviously, it paid off,” he said. “She was happy to have the support of her family, her friends, and thousands of constituents.”

Sheila Heinze, Hochul’s sister, who made two $2,500 contributions to Hochul’s campaign on March 4, said that the family donations on the same day were “coincidental.”

Aside from that $50,000 on March 4, Hochul family members contributed an additional $18,000 during the rest of March and April. While an influx of family member donations is perfectly legal, it’s unusual for congressional candidates to receive big-dollar donations from so many relatives on a single day.

Overall, Hochul raised $1.07 million during the special election, with $250,000 coming from her personal funds, as previously reported. But that put her in third place compared to her opponents, who each raised significantly more than Hochul.

Kathleen Ronayne writes for OpenSecrets.org, from where this article is adapted.

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