Former Sen. James Alesi spent nearly $10,000 on a poll last May just days before he announced he would not seek re-election, campaign-finance records show.
Alesi, R-Perinton, Monroe County, had been adamant for more than a year that he would seek re-election—despite the enormous criticism he faced in early 2011 for suing a pair of constituents after he trespassed on their property and broke his leg.
But then on May 9 last year, Alesi abruptly announced he would not seek re-election.
Campaign-finance-disclosure reports show that Alesi spent $9,956 on a “voter survey” May 6-7 by The Tarrance Group, a national Republican polling company based in Virginia.
Alesi apparently didn’t like results. At the time, he said his decision to not seek re-election was in large part due to fear that if went ahead, he’d face a primary and that would risk the GOP losing the “seat in a new district.”
In the end, Alesi’s decision gave way for Assemblyman Sean Hanna, R-Mendon, to run for the seat. He lost to Democrat Ted O’Brien in the general election.
Alesi was one of four Republicans to vote in favor of same-sex marriage in 2011, but his undoing, most local officials said, had more to do with the lawsuit than the same-sex marriage vote.
Alesi burned through $132,755 of his sizable $468,372 warchest over the past six months, including $10,300 to two other GOP senators who backed same-sex marriage and money to various local organizations. He received an infusion of cash from same-sex marriage supporters across the country.