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Rhetoric Heats Up in N.Y. Special

With western New York’s special election to replace former Rep. Chris Lee (R) less than a month away, a war of words has broken out as the candidates seek to fill their campaign coffers to fuel a sprint to the finish.

Jane Corwin, the Republican nominee and presumed frontrunner, is on Capitol Hill on Wednesday and Thursday “for a variety of political and policy meetings,” according to her campaign. Those include a morning fundraiser at the Capitol Hill Club hosted by the Financial Services Roundtable.

Democratic nominee Kathy Hochul on Wednesday attacked Corwin’s participation with the Financial Services Roundtable, an organization she described as “a group of Wall Street bankers, who were among the first to back President Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security.”

“This morning, Jane Corwin is headlining a fundraiser in Washington, D.C., with slick Washington politicians and her old Wall Street pals at the Capitol Hill Club,” Hochul spokesman Fabien Levy said. “So not only do Jane Corwin’s donors want to decimate Medicare, but they supported privatizing Social Security as well?  Voters in the 26th district will not stand for politicians that support proposals that could send our seniors back into poverty, while lining the pockets of the super rich.”

The extent of Corwin’s need to raise money is unclear. A former business owner with deep pockets, the freshman state lawmaker loaned her campaign $1 million last quarter. When asked to respond to Hochul’s attacks, a Corwin spokesman turned the tables, noting that Hochul had recently attended a high-profile fundraiser in New York City.

“Today Jane is discussing how she would vote to cut spending and create jobs, while over the last few days Kathy Hochul has been sipping Champagne with radical New York City special interests that have decimated western New York’s economy,” Corwin spokesman Matthew Harakal told Roll Call. “Instead of hobnobbing with glitterati on New York City’s Upper East Side, maybe Kathy Hochul will finally speak up and unveil her plan for cutting spending, creating jobs, lowering gas prices or anything else for that matter.”

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) reportedly hosted a $250-a-head fundraiser for Hochul on Tuesday night, which followed a Manhattan meet and greet with Democratic Leadership for the 21st Century. The organization promoted Hochul’s visit this way on its website: “Kathy is a progressive, pro-choice candidate. She is running in a 3-way race against a self-funding Tea Party candidate who will likely split votes with her Republican opponent.”

Indeed, in a race that includes the independently wealthy Corwin and third-party candidate Jack Davis, Hochul has perhaps the greatest need to appeal to donors. She had some success in the first three months of the year, bringing in nearly $357,000 and finishing the quarter with almost $306,000 in the bank.

Davis, meanwhile, loaned his campaign nearly $1.6 million in the first quarter and has vowed to spend as much as $3 million as the candidate running on the tea party ballot line.