State Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, has nearly six times as much cash on hand as his opponent, Don Barber, as the race for the 51st Senate District reaches its final three weeks.

And the money has flowed in greater amounts for Seward in recent months.

But Barber, who has criticized Seward for accepting donations from the insurance industry, said he knew when he launched his campaign that Seward would have an incumbent's advantage in terms of cash.

"It was definitely anticipated," Barber said Tuesday. "He started off the campaign with a lot more."

Seward, who has not had an opponent on Election Day in 14 years, has $460,851 on hand, according to campaign finance records from the state Board of Elections.

Barber has $79,798, according the records released Oct. 3.

Since July 1, Seward has brought in $96,054, while Barber collected $57,929, according to the records.

"I think we should get credit for staying even with him," Barber said.

Seward, chairman of the Senate Insurance Committee, said Barber's claim that he is beholden to the insurance industry is not accurate.

Although he did not deny he received money from the industry, Seward said his record shows he will vote against the interests of the industry when he feels it is the right thing to do.

Seward's biggest contributors during the summer were Marjorie Becker of Middleburgh _ $5,000; Sarah Finn of New York City _ $5,000; Peter Finn of New York City _ $5,000; and the Republican candidate for the 20th Congressional District, Alexander "Sandy" Treadwell of Lake Placid _ $2,000.

Barber's biggest contributors were Will Miller of Marlboro _ $1,000; Bruce Lane of Ithaca _ $1,000; and Vicky Lentz of New Lisbon _ $1,000. He also had six people contribute $500 each.

Barber said his support can't be measured in dollars alone, and that he has 1,000 grass-roots activists campaigning in the district.

"Our organization is not going to be built on money, but on volunteers," Barber said. "Our campaign is encouraged by the volunteer campaign."

Seward said he also has hundreds of volunteers campaigning throughout the district.

"I'm going right to the people," Seward said Monday, while driving back from Greene County.

The sprawling 51st Senate District includes all or parts of Otsego, Chenango, Cortland, Greene, Herkimer, Schoharie and Tompkins counties.

The district has 77,801 registered Republicans and 52,431 registered Democrats, according to voter registration records from March. There are nearly 51,599 registered voters who selected a third party or did not designate a party.

Seward has not faced a serious challenge since the mid-1990s.

"Even in the years I did not have an opponent, I always campaigned. But I must confess, it's much more intense this year," Seward said. "We've started our final push."

Barber, a small-business owner, is in his 11th year as a town supervisor in Tompkins County.

Seward has held his Senate seat since 1986.

Later this month, the candidates have a debate in Dryden; a joint radio appearance in Ithaca; and a candidate forum in Oneonta.

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