It’s early yet, but 14th District Republican state Senate candidate Richard Kanka is already facing an uphill climb on the fundraising front in his bid to unseat Democrat Linda Greenstein.
Kanka’s first fundraising report, filed last week with the Election Law Enforcement Commission, shows the Hamilton resident has raised just $100. By contrast, Greenstein, who has the backing of several labor unions, has already raised $32,000 in this cycle and has added an additional $17,000 from her previous campaign for Senate.
She maintains more than $42,000 on hand.
A win by Kanka in the 14th would be integral to any chance the GOP has of gaining control of the Senate in November. The Democrats hold a 24 to 16 margin in the upper chamber and the recently adopted map of the legislative districts favors the majority. The 14th is among the last truly competitive districts in the state, though both Republicans and Democrats agree the recently aopted map makes some districts more competitive than they were during the past decade.
As is always the case in the 14th, organized labor promises to play a prominent role. In a decade in the state Legislature, Greenstein has been a union favorite, which has helped her in the district that is rife with state workers.
Kanka is a member of the pipefitters union, but the pipefitters have already lined up behind Greenstein with an endorsement as well as an $8,200 donation from the Local 9 PAC.
Unions have already begun to make their presence known, contributing more than $22,000 to Greenstein’s coffers.
This is the Senate candidate’s third campaign in three years. In 2009, she successfully defended her seat in the Assembly where she served five full terms and portions of a sixth. Last November, Greenstein successfully jumped to the Senate, defeating Republican Tom Goodwin for the seat Goodwin inherited from the departing Bill Baroni.