ITHACA, NY – Leslie Danks Burke, the Ithaca Democrat who will be challenging Republican State Senator Tom O’Mara, declared over $172,000 in campaign contributions last week, dwarfing the $3,250 raised by O’Mara, based on data from the New York State Board of Elections.

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This November, Danks Burke will be challenging O’Mara for the 58th State Senate district, which includes the City of Ithaca, and the towns of Newfield, Enfield and Ulysses in Tompkins County, as well as the entirety of Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben and Yates Counties.

Related: Ithacan Leslie Danks Burke aims to fix a “broken” Albany

The first fundraising filing period ran from July 2015 through Jan. 15.

The vast majority of contributions to Danks Burke – over $160,000 worth – came from individual donors. Some small contributions came from political groups and small businesses.

The Danks Burke campaign spent about $70,000 during this period, mostly on campaign consulting, office infrastructure and supplies, and mailings. Danks Burke has $101,359.26 cash on hand going into the next phase of the campaign.

Donors to O’Maras campaign included Kraft Foods, Rochester & Southern Railroad, Walmart Stores and Tom Reed for Congress, as well as a number of PACs.

While O’Mara did not raise much during this period,  he is still sitting on $216,325 in his coffers. His campaign spent over $29,000 during this period, mostly on contributions to other campaigns, dining and travel, and a series of unlabeled, miscellaneous small expenses.

With O’Mara having been unopposed since winning the seat in 2010, it’s difficult to say how much funding might be waiting in the wings now that he is facing a challenger – or if Danks Burke’s momentum will hold. Since 2009, during the time he was campaigning for and then sitting in the 58th District seat, O’Mara raised a total of $818,970.57.

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Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.