FasofundraisserThe congressional campaign of Republican John Faso is taking shape this month as the former Assembly minority leader plans a Sept. 30 fundraiser at the Fort Orange Club in Albany.

Tickets for the event range from $250 to $1,000 for the dinner and reception.

Faso, the 2002 Republican candidate for comptroller and 2006 nominee for governor, is vying for the congressional seat held by retiring Rep. Chris Gibson, who is weighing a run for statewide office in 2018.

An invitation obtained by Capital Tonight shows Faso has lined up prominent Republican donors in upstate New York, including businessman John Nigro, communications and publicity expert Mark Behan, developer Emil Galasso and former Court of Appeals Judge Victoria Graffeo, an appointee of then-Gov. George Pataki. A long list of those attending the event is after the jump. 

The invitation to the event was first mentioned this week by Fred Dicker on his Talk-1300 radio show.

At the same time, Faso appears to be rolling out a soft launch of his campaign online, with a Faso For Congress website that includes a brief biography declaring his intentions.

“Elections are about the future and I want to use all my experiences – from being a husband and father, to serving in the state Assembly and everything in between – to try to make a difference for the people of our congressional district,” Faso’s campaign bio states. “I’ve lived here and served here; now I’m hoping to earn your support to be that voice in Washington for you and your family.”

Assemblyman Steve McLauglin, a Republican from the Rensselaer County town of Melrose, plans to decide whether he will launch his own bid by the end of this month.

A third Republican, Andrew Heaney, a Millbrook businessman and campaign donor, has filed a statement of candidacy in the 19th congressional district earlier this summer.

Democrat Sean Eldridge, who challenged Gibson last year, will not run for the seat in 2016.

The 19th congressional district since 2012 has been one of the more competitive House districts in New York. The sprawling Hudson Valley district includes all of Columbia, Delaware, Greene, Otsego, Schoharie, Sullivan, and Ulster counties as well as and parts of Broome, Dutchess, Montgomery, and Rensselaer counties.