The Real Estate Board of New York in the last week has made a handful of modest donations to Democratic candidates and an incumbent in the state Senate, Board of Elections records show.
The group donated $10,050 to Democratic challenger Karen Smythe, who is running to unseat Republican Sen. Sue Serino in the Hudson Valley. Sen. Kevin Thomas, facing a stiff re-election challenge after his first term, received $1,080. Democrat Lauren Ahearn, who is running for an open seat on eastern Long Island received $11,800.
Democratic candidate John Mannion, running for an open seat in the Syracuse area, was given $5,000 from the group's political action committee.
The group has traditionally been seen as allies of Republicans in the state Senate in Albany, but its campaign donations over the last decade has flowed to a variety of candidates, including suburban Democrats in Westchester County and Long Island as well as members of what was then the Indepdnent Democratic Conference in the state Senate.
But money has a way of following power in Albany. Democrats gained an outright majority two years ago for the first time in the state Senate in a decade. And over the last two years, the party has done little to ingratiate itself to real estate interests, approving a rent control package that rolled back decades of provisions that were seen by housing advocates as hamrful to tenants and expanded the reach of rent control itself.
The donations are interesting, too, for where they are not going: New York City-based lawmakers, among whom real estate interests are seen as potentially politically toxic amid an affordable housing crunch.