While engaged in the daily email purge required to keep our system able to send and receive electronic missives, I came across a fundraising appeal sent out by Democratic Senator-in-waiting Terry Gipson last week that was forwarded by a helpful reader.

In this email, which bore the subject line “We’ve gotten to work – but need your help,” the village of Rhinebeck trustee thanks his backers for “being there for us, supporting us, staying strong with us, and helping to push the campaign over the finish line,” and adds:

“But now comes the hard part. Now comes the transition from campaign mode to serving-the-district mode…”

“I want to hit the ground running on January 9, which is the first day of the new session in Albany. To accomplish this, we must recruit and hire staff and develop our constituent services system now… and we’ve already begun. This prep work is all on the campaign’s dime, until we can get funding from Albany in January.”

“I’m asking you, once again, to contribute so that we can get the head start we need to provide the best NYS Senate Team ever. This is an investment in our future and will help our staff be the most responsive it can be, from Day One. Please contribute $25, $50, $100, $250, $500 or any amount you can so we can serve you and this district in a way that makes you proud.”

OK, two thoughts on this:

1) While the conventional wisdom is that Gipson indeed will maintain a good portion of his election night lead and ultimately prevail over his GOP opponent, Sen. Steve Saland, Saland hasn’t yet conceded and the paper ballot count is not yet complete.

So, while it’s probably smart for Gipson to start planning for his likely Senate career, advertising that he’s doing it – and fundraising to support the effort – is a little presumptuous.

2) Is raising political cash to pay for resources in a state Senate office legal? I know the law is pretty gray, and candidates are not supposed to use campaign cash to pay for any personal expenses, but that has been very loosely interpreted in the past to cover everything from pool covers to private club memberships.

Now, putting together a Senate team and a constituent services system certainly aren’t personal expenses, but they’re not political, either. Campaign finance experts and/or attorneys, help me out here.

UPDATE: I have now heard from several consultants who say what Gipson is doing is OK, so long as the money he is raising goes to cover expenses related to the holding of public office AND he wins – as is expected. If by some chance Saland manages to pull off a major come-from-behind victory, then Gipson might have a problem here.