Campaign Finance Report: Tong’s Haul Moves Her Into Contention

Bay Ridge City Council Race

With the city’s Campaign Finance Board listing candidate fundraising filings for the 8th filing period today, the proverbial election rubber is finally meeting the road in the contentious open 43rd District City Council Race.

Nancy Tong

And it appears from the filings that Nancy Tong is gearing up for a serious run to replace term-limited City Councilman Vincent Gentile in a district including Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and parts of Bensonhurst and Bath Beach.

Tong, who in the last filing period pulled in a paltry $5,170 including a $2,100 loan to herself, scored a whopping $53,650 from 268 contributors this filing period, which will easily give her enough for the city’s $6 to $1 public financing match maximum of $100,100.

“Now that this [filing period] is over and done, I’m starting to prepare my petitions for signatures. I do things step by step. I don’t talk much, I do stuff,” said Tong. “To me, it’s always about the community. I’m not looking for fame. I only want to service the community.”

Justin Brannan
Kevin Peter Carroll

While Tong remains behind fellow Democratic primary candidates Justin Brannan ($99,536 total raised) and Khader El-Yateem ($93,630) and ahead of Kevin Peter Carroll ($40,242), in which all the candidates will likely meet the public financing maximum threshold, she has the strong support of the Assemblyman Bill Colton (D-Bensonhurst, Bath Beach) and City Councilman Mark Treyger (D-Bensonhurst, Coney Island).

It was Colton, Treyger and Tong, who head the United Progressive Democratic Club, who successfully backed Assemblywoman Pam Harris (D-Coney Island, Dyker Heights, Bay Ridge) last year in a proxy battle against the Bay Ridge Democrats political club. That battle also included Treyger beating Bay Ridge Democrats President Chris McCreight and of which Brannan is a founding member.

Pastor Khader El-Yateem

Harris, although uncommitted on who she will support in the race, told KCP she is leaning towards Tong as she is the only woman in the race and because Brooklyn’s large and growing Chinese/Asian-American population in Southern Brooklyn has no representation in legislative government.

Tong, however, currently lives in Treyger’s 47th Council District – a point her opponents will surely pick up on even though she says she will move into the 43rd District in time for the primary.

Brannan, although still considered the frontrunner, will have to contend with Carroll for the strong Irish-American vote in the district. If Carroll mounts a strong campaign, it could split Brannan’s vote which will likely favor Tong.

While El-Yateem like Tong is an immigrant, his base is Bay Ridge’s large Arab-American community, which is nowhere near as large as the Chinese/Asian-American community. Additionally, El-Yateem’s alliance with Palestinian-American radical Linda Sarsour and her attempts to link the city and nation’s progressive agenda with Palestinian/Israeli politics might turn off some of the district’s large blue-collar Democratic base.

John Quaglione

On the equally competitive Republican side of the primary race, John Quaglione came out the big fundraising winner in bringing in $25,947 for the filing period and now has a net total of $48,858. Quaglione will likely have the support of Sen. Marty Golden (R-Bay Ridge, Marine Park, Dyker Heights, Gerritsen Beach), for whom he works as the communications director.

Liam McCabe and Bob Capano, however, will continue mounting strong challenge in the race – which like the Democratic side – appears to close to call.

Although McCabe raised a paltry $4,857 and spent $14, 251 this filing period, he still has $25,203 in his campaign coffers, and should reach the maximum in public financing dollars.

Liam McCabe
Bob Capano

Capano raised a healthy $11,755 this filing period including from a number of small money donors in the district, meaning he will also max out, or at least come close to it for public financing funds. He has a total of $18,905 in his primary campaign war chest.

City council candidates opting into the city’s public financing system have spending limits in the primary of $182,000, including the public matching funds. They can also spend another $182,000 in the general election.

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