By Brian Tumulty
Gannett Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter of Fairport raised $63,431 in campaign money during the first three months of the year, a fraction of the amounts raised by her congressional colleagues representing Syracuse, the Buffalo suburbs and the Southern Tier.
Reports filed this week with the Federal Election Commission show many members of Congress barely took a breather after the 2012 election in their quest for campaign cash.
Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei of the Syracuse area topped the region's House members with $305,505 raised through March 31.
In November, Maffei won back the central New York congressional seat he lost in 2010 to Republican Ann Marie Buerkle of Onondaga County.
Rather than seek a third matchup against Maffei, Buerkle filed papers with the FEC on April 5 terminating her campaign committee.
The Buerkle-Maffei race topped $9.6 million in spending by the two candidates and outside groups.
Two other losers in 2012 - Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks and former Democratic Rep. Kathy Hochul of Erie County - also terminated their campaign committees earlier this year, signaling they are unlikely to run in 2014.
Hochul recently took a government relations job with M&T Bank in Buffalo. She ended 2012 with $351,800 in campaign debt, which was money she had loaned the campaign. Her termination report indicated she had forgiven the loans to the committee, relinquishing the right to be paid back.
Republican Rep. Chris Collins of Clarence, who unseated Hochul, raised almost $188,000 through March 31. His campaign committee ended March with $158,909.
Collins' first-quarter fundraisers included an event in March at Salvatore's Italian Gardens in Depew and a "debt retirement breakfast" in January at Sonoma Restaurant in Washington. He also listed as campaign expenses a luncheon at Tournedos in Rochester last month and an event on Marco Island, Florida.
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Jesse Ferguson said Tuesday "it's too early to know" if Collins will become a target in 2014.
Collins represents the Republican-leaning redrawn 27th Congressional District that covers parts of the Buffalo suburbs in Erie County, most of Niagara County and the large rural area reaching east to the Rochester suburbs.
The DCCC considers Slaughter in a good position after fending off a GOP challenge from Brooks last year in a redrawn district covering most of Monroe County.
"They threw everything, including the kitchen sink, at that in 2012 and were roundly rejected,'' Ferguson said.
Slaughter, Brooks and outside groups spent about $6 million on the race, based on FEC reports.
One district emerging as a key battleground for control of the House is the Southern Tier's 23rd Congressional District where Democrat Martha Robertson last week announced her candidacy to run against Republican Rep. Tom Reed of Corning.
Robertson is chairwoman of the Tompkins County Legislature. Reed is the former mayor of Corning.
Robertson is getting into the race 11 months earlier than the previous Democratic candidate, Nate Shinagawa.
Reed raised $223,904 during the first three months of the year. His campaign expense report shows he held catered events through the end of March at locations in Washington and Sarasota, Fla., and at Richardson's Canal House in Pittsford.
Reed spent $2 million to win re-election last year in a redrawn district that stretches west to Lake Ontario and east to Tompkins County.
Reed is a top DCCC target this election cycle.
Robertson is not required to file a quarterly report until she raises at least $5,000.