By: Mark Weiner |

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Independence Party candidate Martin Babinec has put up $1 million of his own money to launch his bid in the 22nd Congressional District, according to his campaign spokesman.

Babinec, 61, of Little Falls, also pledged to refuse donations from special-interest groups, becoming the first candidate in the race to decline donations from political action committees, or PACs.

“I’m running for Congress as an independent, to be a voice for all the people who are forgotten, and if elected I will beholden to no one but the voters,” Babinec said in a statement.

He said PACs too often are invested in the status quo, fueling a system that stymies entrepreneurial activity.

Babinec launched his third-party campaign last month, a long-shot bid to succeed Rep. Richard Hanna, R-Barneveld, who plans to retire when his term expires at the end of the year.

At least two Democrats and three Republicans are seeking their respective party designations for the open House seat. The Libertarian Party has also designated its own candidate, David Pasick of Herkimer County.

Babinec is an entrepreneur who made his fortune as founder of TriNet, a cloud-based human resource company that now has $2 billion in annual sales and more than 2,500 employees.

The businessman’s $1 million loan to his campaign is substantial by any measure for a House race, but especially for a third-party candidate.

It was not possible to independently confirm Babinec’s loan Wednesday. All of the congressional candidates must file disclosure reports on their latest fundraising activity by April 15. So far, none have filed their reports for the first quarter of the year.

Republican and Democrats in the 22nd District are likely headed to a June 28 congressional primary.

Republicans Steve Wells, of Cazenovia; Claudia Tenney, of New Hartford; and George Phillips, of Endwell; are likely to face off in the GOP primary.

On the Democratic side, Broome County Legislator Kim Myers is opposed by David Gordon, of Utica, a former Oneida County legislator.

The 22nd Congressional District covers all of Madison, Cortland, Chenango and Oneida counties and part of Oswego, Broome, Herkimer, and Tioga counties.

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