Brooklyn is thinking small this election cycle. Small donor contributions are fueling the campaigns of several candidates, including Democrat Justin Brannan, and City Councilmember Carlos Menchaca.
According to the City’s Campaign Finance Board (CFB) small donors are contributors that give $175 or less to a candidate.
Brannan, founder of the Bay Ridge Democrats, former member of the De Blasio administration, and now working in Gentile’s office, topped the list of all City Council candidates in small donor fundraising, according to the latest CFB report.
Brannan, running for the 43rd City Council District (Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Dyker Heights) raised $21,460 from 266 small donors. Brannan’s supporters donated an average of $136. Nearly 38 percent of all of Brannan’s campaign contributions have come from small donors.
Chris McCreight, president of the Bay Ridge Democrats, tweeted that Brannan was “showing that campaigns can be run without relying on big money donors and PACs.”
In City Council District 38, Menchaca (D-Sunset Park/Red Hook) raised $8,224 from 150 small donors. Small donations comprised approximately 26 percent of his campaign contributions. His supporters donated an average of $114.
New York City’s matching funds program strengthens the role of these small donations. In an effort to prevent wealthy donors and special interest groups from heavily influencing elections results, the City matches small-dollar contributions from constituents with public funds.
Since only small-dollar contributions will be matched, candidates are encouraged to reach out to local residents. If candidates quality for the program, small donations will be matched $6 for every $1.
According to the CFB, a total of $16.5 million has been raised by small city donors. Approximately 34,741 individuals donated an average of $475 to candidates across the five boroughs. In contrast, donations by committees, unions, and other special interest groups have raised only $2.2 million.