Candidates enjoy cash benefits in the city’s reduced ballot races

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(ld) Candidate controllers Lander, Benjamin, Weprin, Parker


This article is published in partnership with City limits. Also read: Race for money in mayor’s primary: January filing sets the stage for 2021

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While money plays a decisive role in the Democratic race for city comptroller, it appears to be a two-candidate affair. But, even in the race to become a city accountant, money isn’t everything.

According to documents filed with the New York City Campaign Funding Council for the Jan. 15 deadline, just over five months before the all-important primary day in June, the Brooklyn City Council member, Brad Lander, now has $ 2.7 million, funded from his own $ 800,000. fundraiser and a dose of $ 2.3 million in matching funds in December.

Manhattan State Senator Brian Benjamin, whose fundraiser was the source of the controversy, follows Lander of $ 100,000 in private donations, but on Friday received an injection of $ 950,000 in matching funds and had $ 1.5 million available at the time of filing.

Queens Assembly member David Weprin had $ 295,000 in the bank and Brooklyn State Senator Kevin Parker just over $ 81,000.

However, Weprin was the most successful fundraiser during the July-January period covered by this recent reporting deadline. He brought in $ 292,000 versus $ 244,000 for Benjamin, $ 173,000 for Lander and $ 119,000 for Parker. Lander and Benjamin both started fundraising long before Weprin and Parker.

At the time of filing, Parker had raised $ 122,711 from 663 contributions for an average of $ 183. Weprin said he raised a total of $ 465,212 from 1,431 backers, for an average of $ 318.

Benjamin said he has raised a total of $ 706,046 so far from 2,146 backers, for an average of $ 327. And Lander said he raised a total of $ 858,844 out of 4,621 contributions for an average of $ 169.

Ballot but a lot of money
In 2021 as in previous years, the mayoral race is generally in the spotlight. But raffle races are a big contributor to the cost of New York City’s municipal campaigns and expenses that help reach voters across the city.

In 2013, the last time a large chunk of office was opened for limited terms, mayoral campaigns accounted for just under half of the $ 122 million spent by city candidates. The races for the controller, the public lawyer, the president of the district and the municipal council made up the remainder.

As in all competitions, money is only one factor – always important, but not always decisive – in these races. John Liu passed the field when he won a crowded primary race in 2009 to win the nomination and become a controller. But Eliot Spitzer’s big spending advantage in 2013 didn’t help him outweigh Scott Stringer in that controller primary.

The numbers from last week’s fundraiser indicate something about how the raffle races are shaping up. In a year characterized by an abundance of open seats, pandemic-related campaign restrictions, the first use of ranked voting, and a generous eight-to-one matchmaking ratio for public campaign funding of some contributions eligible, having the most money might not be crucial, but having enough money to compete will be. It’s five long months between now and the Democratic primary in June.

The hunt for matching funds
The threshold for receiving matching public funds in the Comptroller Race is to raise $ 125,000 in matched donations from at least 500 New York City residents. Lander qualified in December and received money based on his fundraising until July. Benjamin received public funds on Friday based on July figures.

The BFC will now review the July-January fundraiser reported last week to determine if Parker and Weprin qualify and to determine amounts owed to qualified applicants. Benjamin and Lander may receive additional funds based on their most recent fundraiser. The next installment is in February.

Parker, with just over $ 53,000 in matching gifts, appears to have fallen short of the threshold. Weprin published what the campaign estimates to be matched donations of over $ 209,000, which is enough to qualify, and his campaign said he expected nearly $ 2 million in matching public funds. when disbursed next month.

As for Lander and Benjamin, they appear to be awaiting additional public fund payments of up to $ 940,000 and $ 480,000, respectively, in February, based on the matched donations they received from July. The Campaign Finance Board will review the numbers submitted by campaigns, who have made their own assessments which are released upon filing.

Although Lander has had the smallest average donation so far in the race, he has raised significantly more ($ 38,000) through middlemen than anyone in the field, although no middleman has made more. of $ 2,500 to Lander.

In the very calm race for public counsel, there has been some modest fundraising. After raising $ 106,000 since July, incumbent Jumaane Williams – the only city official eligible to run for office this year – now has $ 44,300 – a tiny amount for a city-wide campaign, but more than any of the other three candidates entered for this race. Closest to him is Anthony Herbert with almost $ 1,500 on hand. The threshold for public funds in the lawyer race is the same as the comptroller, and with just over $ 50,000 in matching donations against the $ 125,000 threshold, Williams is short of qualifying.

Races at the arrondissement and district level
City council member Fernando Cabrera has the biggest bankroll of anyone running for Bronx Borough President, with $ 120,000 in hand. State Senator Luis Sepulveda holds the second most money ($ 48,000), but his campaign has been jeopardized by the allegation that he tried to strangle his wife. City council member Vanessa Gibson has $ 29,000 to spend and Samuel Ravelo $ 16,000. MP Nathalia Fernandez’s campaign is in the red by $ 28.

“Board member Cabrera has built unprecedented local support across the Bronx,” Cabrera campaign manager Timothy Tapia said in a statement. “Fernando has shown that his vision of repairing the Bronx has been embraced by residents across the Bronx borough.”

In the contest for President of the Brooklyn Borough, Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon ($ 187,599) and City Council Member Antonio Reynoso ($ 139,089) are leading the race for money. City Council member Robert Cornegy, Jr. raised ($ 249,640) more than the two, but spent almost every dollar he raised.

“Raised in just three months, the case demonstrated strong local support for Simon, with Brooklynites making up over 80% of its more than 800 unique contributors,” Simon’s campaign said in a statement. But the treasury includes a $ 125,000 loan she made to her campaign.

City council member Ben Kallos has a solid stock of cash ($ 574,139) in the Manhattan Borough presidential race, but State Senator Brad Hoylman ($ 278,421) and City Council member Mark Levine ($ 235,920) also has competitive cash flow. They are one of the six candidates in this Democratic primary and the only three current elected officials in the running. Former Community Council President Elizabeth Caputo has over $ 55,000 available at time of deposit.

On Friday, City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer’s candidacy to oust newly-elected Queens Borough President Donovan Richards received a boost with the allocation of $ 395,000 in matching funds, giving him a balance of 384 $ 000, more than three times what is in Richards’ account, who just won a November special election to serve the remainder of the 2018-2021 term of District Attorney Melinda Katz. Both are Democrats.

Staten Island Borough presidential candidate Steven Matteo, a member of city council, now has $ 545,000 to spend. The only other Richmond County candidate registered with the CFB, Leticia Remauro, declared $ 34,000 in the bank. Matteo and Remauro both run in the Republican primary.

Given the low threshold of eligibility for public funds as a candidate for the presidency of the borough (100 donors and matched donations totaling $ 10,000 in Staten Island and up to $ 50,094 in Brooklyn), it appears that several Candidates will qualify for funds in the Borough President races once the CFB reviews the most recent deposits and allocates new funds in February.

In the five boroughs, city council candidates have so far lost $ 4.8 million on the race and have a total of $ 10.9 million to spend. Ten Council candidates received matching funds on Friday based on the pre-July fundraiser. A few dozen had received public funds in the previous round of awards in December. Many are on track to receive matching funds in February and others are hoping for March.

The best-funded candidate in town is Erik Bottcher, candidate in Manhattan’s 3rd District, who has raised $ 133,000, received $ 160,000 in matching funds and has $ 244,000. However, no one has raised or spent more than outgoing City Council member Mark Gjonaj of the Bronx, who has already spent $ 446,000 of the $ 577,000 he raised. Four years ago, Gjonaj spent almost every candidate in the city losing $ 1.3 million to win his council seat. It is again facing stiff competition.

Also read: Race for money in mayor’s primary: January filing sets the stage for 2021

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by Jarrett Murphy of City Limits, published in conjunction with Gotham Gazette
@GothamGazette @CityLimitsNews

Ben Max contributed to this article.



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