The 2012 Vote
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|Kathleen Ronayne||July 5th 2011|
|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 differenceâ€”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 â€œCourtneyâ€â€”her maiden name, research indicates. Hochul defeated Republican Jane Corwin and Independent Jack Davis in a May special election in New Yorkâ€™s 26th District.
Fabien Levy, Hochulâ€™s press secretary, said the campaign was unaware of coordination that would have caused family members to donate on the same day, but that Hochulâ€™s family was supportive throughout the campaign.
â€œThey were very supportive of the campaign, and obviously, it paid off,â€ he said. â€œShe was happy to have the support of her family, her friends, and thousands of constituents.â€
Sheila Heinze, Hochulâ€™s sister, who made two $2,500 contributions to Hochulâ€™s campaign on March 4, said that the family donations on the same day were â€œcoincidental.â€
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, itâ€™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.