Syracuse, N.Y. — A new super PAC is targeting Democratic candidates for New York State Senate, including one in the Syracuse area, with the help of a billionaire cosmetics executive.
Ronald Lauder, heir to the Estee Lauder cosmetics fortune, has funneled $1.7 million to the new PAC, known as Safe Together New York, according to Spectrum News. The committee has spent $1 million on TV ads aimed at Democratic incumbents in the Senate, including Sens. Monica Martinez, Jim Gaughran, Kevin Thomas and Andrew Gounardes.
According to state campaign finance reports, the group is also targeting Democrat John Mannion, a high school teacher who is running against Republican Angi Renna for an open state Senate seat in the Syracuse area.
Mannion ran for the same seat, the 50th Senate District, two years ago. He lost by 2 percentage points to Republican Bob Antonacci, who has since resigned to become a judge.
That 2018 race attracted nearly $3 million in donations, including about $1 million from outside groups who backed Mannion.
Organizers of Safe Together say they’re trying to highlight changes in criminal justice laws Democrats have made since they have been in charge of the Legislature, according to the Buffalo News. The group believes many of those changes have contributed to increases in crime rates.
The group does not appear to be trying to return Republicans to power in the Senate, the News said. Rather, Democrats believe the PAC is trying to prevent them from securing a veto-proof super majority.
The group has also launched a website in addition to the ad campaign, according to Newsday.
Staff Writer Teri Weaver contributed to this report
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