Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos, an independently wealthy candidate for the U.S. Senate who had vowed to self-fund his campaign with up to $5 million dollars — and who had already seeded his campaign with $1 million for the Republican primary — has paid himself back $795,000 in advance of Election Day next Tuesday, according to a late financing report.
“It’s all about cash management,” Mr. Maragos told The Politicker this afternoon, contending that his money was better invested elsewhere rather than in a zero-interest campaign account.
Asked as to why he initially loaned his campaign $1 million if interest-bearing accounts should take precedence, he explained succinctly, “Because I thought I would need it at that point to make sure that the campaign was well refinanced.”
And even though no Republican voters have any idea who Mr. Maragos or his two Republican opponents — Rep. Bob Turner and attorney Wendy Long — are, he said his campaign was now in a position where the money simply wasn’t necessary.
He also dismissed the idea that the sudden repayment might look like a strong vote of no confidence in his own campaign, again pointing to his financial background and the need to invest money wisely.
However, Mr. Maragos did keep some of his initial loan and raised $65,000, leaving him $250,000 in his campaign account, more than Mr. Turner or Ms. Long, who have been struggling to raise significant amounts of money so far.
The incumbent, Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, has $10 million in her campaign war chest and an equally big lead in polling.