ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Republican Rick Lazio has even less campaign cash on hand now than in August, when he had a fraction of what either his Republican primary opponent or Democratic opponent for governor had.

State records show millionaire Republican Carl Paladino $567 in debt after outspending Lazio in recent weeks. But a Paladino spokesman notes the developer plans to spend up to $10 million of his own money, and running in the red is simply a way to avoid tipping his hand about political strategy to his opponents.

Paladino said he will spend millions of dollars on TV ads before the Sept. 14 primary, spending that Lazio won’t be able to match.

The records filed by the deadline Friday show Paladino spent $484,379 since Aug. 13. Much of it was spent on Facebook ads, which can be targeted to users who choose to identify themselves as conservatives or Republicans. Much of the spending was also spent on direct mailings targeted for Republican households.

Paladino also paid $106,000 to Ellicott Advertising Co. in Buffalo, his own firm created to handle his own campaign’s advertising, according to campaign spokesman Michael Caputo.

Thousands more went to a Florida-based political consulting firm owned by Caputo.

Lazio didn’t file his disclosure form by the deadline needed to be posted by the state Board of Elections. Lazio’s campaign didn’t release the spending or individual donations that those records will show when they are posted Tuesday, avoiding direct and immediate comparisons with Paladino’s records.

Lazio spokesman David James said the campaign raised $265,606 since mid-August and has $502,368 on hand. On Aug. 13, the campaign reported $600,317 on hand. The campaign said it spent $200,000 for its recent statewide TV ad buy.

“We feel very good about where we are and are confident we will continue to have the resources necessary to defeat Andrew Cuomo,” James said, referring to the Democratic candidate for governor.

Thursday’s Quinnipiac University poll showed Lazio maintaining a 12-point lead over Paladino with 18 percent undecided. Half the voters polled said they could change their mind before the primary.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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