It is interesting to look under the covers of Michele Madigan’s campaign donations.
When the list of donors on Commissioner Madigan’s May, 2019 mandatory Board of Elections Report is matched to the most current official list of Saratoga Springs political party affiliations, it comes up red – Republican red, that is. Of her $17,178 total donations, twenty-one Republican and three Conservative donations total $5,825, or 34% of the total. Republican attorney Matt Jones, a Republican who also represents Saratoga Hospital, is her largest individual donor at $1000. Identified Democrats, numbering twenty-five, have kicked in $3,449 or 20% of total donations. There is an additional $644 of contributions that are aggregated, where the candidate has not identified the donors, so party affiliation cannot be determined for these. Interesting to note that the Madigan family’s total contribution is $190 of food and beverages. Ms. Madigan must be thankful for the generosity of others.
In addition to individual donors, Ms. Madigan’s campaign has received donations from businesses, PACs, and political committees tallying $4,250, or 25% of her total. The remainder of her donations comes from several individuals living outside of the city and those who don’t identify with a political party.
It is interesting to note that the Saratoga Springs Republican Party is not running a candidate to compete with Commissioner Madigan. Instead, many of its leading party members have thrown their support behind Ms. Madigan, as evidenced by Ms. Madigan’s most recent Board of Election Disclosure. Republican donations have clearly outpaced their Democratic Party counterparts in terms of generosity. And when you stack business interest donations, political committees, and PACs on top of this, well over 50% of Ms. Madigan’s support comes from Republicans, Conservatives, builders, large business owners, and others interested in City Council decisions.
Commissioner Madigan’s supporters, as well as Ms. Madigan herself, will likely defend these donations as profoundly ecumenical and as evidence of Ms. Madigan’s ability to work across the political divide. Democrats, and especially progressive Democrats, may disagree. Since Citizens United, political money has indeed become the true coin of the realm. We are naïve if we think big money influence only happens somewhere else. It can and does happen here. For those Saratoga Democrats who believe in green space, intelligent commercial development, Second Amendment sanity, City charter reform, etc., too often Republican and large commercial interests in this city don’t align with these values.