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Bob Antonacci says he wouldn't have been able to pay for his race for comptroller if not for public campaign financing. Photo via <a href="http://www.bobantonacci.com/">bobantonacci.com</a>
Bob Antonacci says he wouldn't have been able to pay for his race for comptroller if not for public campaign financing. Photo via bobantonacci.com

GOP comptroller candidate will use new public financing program

State Republicans have picked their candidate for Comptroller, the Onondaga County Comptroller Robert Antonacci. He'll be the first statewide candidate in New York to rely on public financing to pay for his campaign.

Antonacci, who's been the Comptroller for the county that includes Syracuse since 2007, says he'd use his skills as a CPA and attorney to scrutinize state spending by the governor and the legislature, and speak out when he sees waste.

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Reported by

Karen DeWitt
NYS Capitol Correspondent

Antonacci will be taking advantage of pilot program for public campaign financing approved by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the legislature in the state budget. "My family can't self-finance a statewide elected race," Antonacci said. "But for the campaign finance pilot program, I would not be in the race."

That puts the comptroller candidate at odds with the views of the leader of the Republicans in the Senate, who's said it's a waste of the taxpayers money. GOP Chair Ed Cox, who says Antonacci is "the most qualified person ever to seek the office," is not critical of Antonacci's decision. "That's his personal choice," Cox said.

Cox says the state's pilot program is different than the New York City public matching donor system that Republicans have opposed. The incumbent state Comptroller, Tom DiNapoli, has said he won't participate in the public campaign finance option because the program is badly flawed. Government reform groups agree with DiNapoli's decision.

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