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Democratic congressional candidate Zina Spezakis

Spezakis raises $93k for Pascrell primary challenge

Democrat loans $50k to her campaign

By David Wildstein, October 14 2019 12:02 am

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Zina Spezakis has raised $92,930 for her challenge to Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-Paterson) in the 2020 Democratic primary.

A clean technology investor and environmental activist, Spezakis has loaned $49,476 to her fledgling campaign.

She raised $24,734 for the 3rd quarter of 2019, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.  So far, Spezakis has spent $57,641 and has $35,288 cash-on-hand.

Spezakis told the New Jersey Globe in March that she needs between $500,000 and $1 million to unseat the popular Pascrell in the primary.

The 48-year-old Spezakis worked for Chase Manhattan, Morgan Stanley and other financial services companies before joining Allianz Global Investors in 2001.  She served as managing director and COO of their operations and risk management divisions and COO of managed accounts for seven years before moving on to investment strategies firms.

The daughter of Greek immigrants who ran a deli across the street from the New York Times, Spezakis grew up in Englewood Cliffs and attended Cornell University.  She received an MBA from the University of Chicago, as well as a master’s degree in international Relations.

Another Democrat, Alpaslan Basaran, reported raising $28,532 during the 2nd quarter, including a $25,000 personal loan.  He has not yet filed his 3rd quarter report.

Pascrell won his first congressional election in 1996 after serving in the State Assembly and as mayor of Paterson.  He raised $238,207 during the first three months of 2019 and has a warchest of $1,724,804.

He faced eight-term Rep. Steve Rothman (D-Englewood) in the 2012 primary after redistricting eliminated one of New Jersey’s House seats and won 61% of the vote.

Pascrell defeated 2018 primary opponent William O. Henry with 86% of the vote.

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