Collins’ Cash Advantage

Erie County Executive Chris Collins, another Republican exploring a gubernatorial run, is still moving around New York and will make the keynote address at two dinners next month.

Collins also has a lot more cash in his campaign account—more than $529,000—than Rick Lazio, the other Republican contender who reported $184,000 on hand. Rudy Giuliani is often mentioned—the county chairmen in Brooklyn and the Bronx have started a "Draft Rudy" campaign—but has not indicated he will run, or started raising money.

Part of Collins’ cash advantage comes from a personal loan of $200,000 he gave his campaign in 2007. A former business executive, his donor base is still concentrated in western New York. Lazio, who has been at JPMorgan since he left Congress, is raising money from Wall Street types including legendary bond trader Lewis Ranieri.

Both Lazio and Collins have hired consultants and the beginnings of a campaign apparatus.

Collins will speak in Ontario and Livingston counties this month.

"He has compiled a successful record to date," said Lowell Conrad, chairman of the Livingston County Republican Committee. "It is rumored that some people have considered him a possible candidate for governor, if that proves to be the case, so much the better."

He said he expects about 600 people to attend the county dinner, which will be August 21 at the Gennessee River Restaurant in Mount Morris. Collins’ Cash Advantage