Editor’s Note: New York City elections have public financing, meaning taxpayer dollars fund candidates to run for office. Yesterday marked the end of a two-month filing period in which candidates running for office who opt into the program had to show how much money they raised and who the money came from.
The following is a summary of the rules:
Participating candidates may qualify to receive public matching funds at a $6-to-$1 rate for contributions up to $175 from individuals who reside in New York City. City Council candidates must get at least 75 contributors within the district they are running to be eligible. Candidates must raise a minimum of $5,000 to be eligible for matching funds and max out at $15,000, meaning the most they can receive in public financing per campaign is $90,000. City Council Candidates that opt into public financing can spend no more than $182,000 in the primary election and another $182,00 in the general election.
When outside organizations or individuals spend money to influence the outcome of a city election, they have made independent expenditures. Independent expenditures are made without the involvement of any candidate, and may refer to candidates running for city office or to ballot proposals.
Fox Out Fundraises Cumbo In March 15 Filing Period
Ede Fox may not have officially declared she is taking on incumbent City Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo (D-35th District-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Park, Crown Heights) in the September primary, but her fundraising totals reported yesterday indicate she could mount a very serious campaign.
According to the Campaign Finance Board (CFB), Cumbo reported having raised $66,457 while spending $26,732 to net out with $39,725. Fox raised $29,456 and spent $260 to net out with $29,716.
While this looks like Cumbo has an edge, it should be noted that she has been fundraising for some time and her total is a culmination of several filing periods, while this is Fox’s first filing.
If you just look at this filing period, which ran from Jan. 17 to yesterday, Fox outraised Cumbo by more than 2 to 1. Fox raised $29,976, while Cumbo raised only $13,720.
This is not to write off Cumbo, however, as City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has an upcoming fundraiser for Cumbo, and she will likely get strong support from Mayor Bill de Blasio, who now that he is cleared of corruption charges, will likely have a lot more pull in local elections.
Cumbo will also likely get strong independent expenditure strong support from the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) as she did in 2013 when she won a close five-person race. However, in a head-to-head matchup with just Cumbo and Fox as the major candidates, this race looks to be a dogfight.
Eugene, Menchaca Looking Pretty After Campaign Filing Period
Political circles have been abuzz for some time that incumbent City Council Members Mathieu Eugene (D-40th District-Flatbush, East Flatbush) and Carlos Menchaca (D-38th District-Red Hook, Sunset Park) would be vulnerable to being upset this year, but yesterday’s filing numbers speak otherwise.
Eugene ended the day with a cool $68,430 raised minus $5,370 in expenses leaving him with a healthy $63,060. His two much talked about opponents Brian Cunningham and Pia Raymond are coming into the contest with big expectations and some political support. Cunningham worked as Cumbo’s chief of Staff and Raymond’s mentor is State Sen. Jesse Hamilton.
But both the challengers came up pretty short of fundraising. Cunningham raised a healthy $13,965, but spent $11,025 leaving him with only $2,940 in cash on hand.
Raymond raised $7,805, but spent $4,965 to net out with $2,840.
Menchaca has a number of critics and opponents from all corners, but still reported raising a healthy $54,682 while spending $13,696 to net out with $40,986. His closest competitor and the only one that reported fundraising activity was attorney Delvis Valdes, who raised a healthy $30,613, but $25,000 was a loan he himself gave to the campaign.
Butler Jumps To Solid Fundraising Lead For Open Brownsville Seat
Community Board 3 District Manager and Vanguard Independent Democratic Association (VIDA) President Henry Butler showed solid monetary heft in his campaign finance filing to replace term-limited 41st District City Councilwoman Darlene Mealy in Brownsville and parts of Bed-Stuy, Crown Heights and East Flatbush.
Butler reported raising $20,335 while spending only $1,795 to net out with $18,540. This includes raising about $9,680 from small donors in the district, putting him well within reach of maxing out and getting $90,000 in matching public funds.
Meanwhile, Alicka Samuel, who has the strong backing of Assemblywoman Latrice Walker (D-Brownsville), on paper raised a healthy looking $42,520, but this included $15,000 she loaned to herself and another $10,000 from what looks like several members of the same family. Regardless of this, she netted out with a healthy $41,721.
Other top fundraisers in this multi-candidate race were Cory Provost, who netted out with $9,069; Deidre Olivera, who netted out with $3,465; and Kathleen Daniel, who netted out with $3,094.