The invitation for the fundraiser later this month hosted by Rochester mayor and lieutenant governor candidate Robert Duffy for the New Roosevelt Initiative, which is looking to oust Sen. Pedro Espada from the Senate.

The group is expecting to spend about $1.5 million on a handful of state Senate races this fall to back like-minded reform candidates, and it’s first target to oust is Espada.

As City Hall reported today, Duffy’s involvement with the group is interesting on a variety of levels. First, the group is led by Bill Samuels, who was running for lieutenant governor on the Democratic line, but dropped out last month to clear the field for Duffy.

And the event is being held at the home of another former lieutenant governor candidate, Dennis Mehiel, the wealthy businessman who ran unsuccessfully with gubernatorial candidate Carl McCall in 2002.

Also, this is the first foray by the Cuomo-Duffy ticket into state Senate races amid the state Democratic party’s attempt to oust Espada from the party.

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