Republican Pierre Rinfret, almost as far behind New York Gov. Mario M. Cuomo (D) in the polls as he is in fund-raising, is trying a new approach to promote interest in his campaign and attract some much-needed funds.
Rinfret's campaign has begun running television, radio and newspaper ads urging New Yorkers to "get rid of" Cuomo and to call two 900 telephone numbers where they can hear a recorded message from the GOP gubernatorial candidate that attacks Cuomo's record on a variety of issues.
Although the messages are the same, callers using the 900 number offered in the TV ads will be charged $9.95, with $5 going to Rinfret's campaign; callers using the number given in the radio and newspaper ads will be billed $5, with $3 going to Rinfret's campaign.
Rinfret, who recently reported that his campaign had less than $94,000 in the bank and $189,000 in unpaid bills, said of the 900 plan: "It's not a sign of trouble. . . . It's a sign of innovation." The initial advertising cost $52,000.
Cuomo, meanwhile, reported his campaign had nearly $6.1 million. Cuomo's campaign has spent more than $1 million airing TV ads since early August.