IDC Gives Big Cash Boost to Tony Avella’s Campaign

The Independent Democratic Conference filled State Senator Tony Avella's coffers as he fends off John Liu.

State Senator Tony Avella. (Photo: Getty Images)
State Senator Tony Avella. (Photo: Getty Images)

He’ll get by with a little help from his IDC friends.

State Senator Tony Avella had less than $3,000 in his campaign account when John Liu launched his primary challenge against him several months ago, but the eastern Queens Democrat raised a little over $130,000 since to defend his seat, according to campaign filings made public this week. Of that total, $50,000 came directly from the four other members of the Independent Democratic Conference, a group of breakaway Democrats that Mr. Avella belongs to, or the IDC’s political action committee.

The cash flow is expected to continue until Election Day in September.

“The Independent Democratic Conference fully supports the reelection of IDC member Tony Avella, a true progressive Democrat who always puts the needs of his Queens constituents first, and is prepared see him through to victory,” said Candice Giove, a spokeswoman for the IDC.

After campaign expenses, Mr. Avella still hasĀ $88,682 in his account, a strong showing for the final two months of the campaign. Due to contribution limits in the primary, not all of that money can be spent against Mr. Liu, however. The former city comptroller, expected to bring in a large haul, has yet to make his filing available.

State Senators Jeff Klein, Diane Savino, David Valesky and David Carlucci each kicked in $10,000 to Mr. Avella’s re-election effort. IDC Initiative, the IDC’s political action committee, also gave $10,000 to Mr. Avella. All of the donations came before the IDC, now governing the senate with the Republican Party, agreed to unite in a new power-sharing agreement with the mainline Democrats after the fall elections.

Many observers expected Mr. Avella’s fund-raising to improve after he joined the IDC in February, in turn infuriating Queens Democrats who then pushed Mr. Liu to challenge him. Mr. Klein, with a war chest north of $2 million, is one of the strongest fund-raisers in the state legislature and was expected to find ways to boost Mr. Avella, a Democrat who has declared repeatedly that he hates calling people up to ask for money.

Mr. Klein, the leader of the IDC, also appears to have aided Mr. Avella in other ways. An executive with the Greater New York Hospital Association, David Rich, kicked in another $10,300 to Mr. Avella’s coffers. A donor to many Democrats and Republicans in the state, Mr. Rich has also donated $32,300 to Mr. Klein since 2008. (Mr. Rich had never given to Mr. Avella before.)

Since the IDC and Democrats agreed to eventually unite, each side has withdrawn support for the primary challengers to the respective members of their conference. Mr. Liu lost the backing of the labor-backed Working Families Party after the deal, for example, though Queens Democrats remain steadfastly behind him.

Mr. Liu’s campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.

IDC Gives Big Cash Boost to Tony Avella’s Campaign