As petitioning season drew to a close last week, two candidates stood out from the pack in the upcoming Democratic Primary for the open 41st District City Council seat covering Brownsville, and parts of Crown Heights, Bedford Stuyvesant and East Flatbush.
The candidates themselves provided the following figures and they are unofficial.
Alicka Ampry-Samuel turned in 3,798 petition signatures and Deidre Olivera turned in 3,656 signatures. Meanwhile, Henry Butler turned in 1,994 and Cory Provost turned in 1,827 signatures each.
Samuel has been a favorite in the race since announcing back in March, having a stronghold in the Brownsville community as a long-time resident and community leader. Samuel also has strong backing from Brownsville Assemblywoman Latrice Walker. The two have a strong friendship and political bond as Samuel previously worked as Walker’s Chief of Staff.
“I am glad the petitioning process is over. Now we can focus exclusively on talking to the voters about solutions and building together. I came into this race later than some of the other serious candidates and have been working very hard since. I’m not surprised about the signature count,” said Ampry-Samuel.
She continued, “Like I’ve said before, this campaign is a journey and a symbol of everyone coming together as a united front. This is like missionary work, I’m on a mission to reach all the people and will continue to remain focused throughout my campaign and beyond.”
The former New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Senior Advisor continues to lead in campaign finances as well. According to the latest filing deadline, Ampry-Samuel has raised a total of $72,558, has spent $29,819 and has a whopping $42,739 remaining of her total balance. The front-runner has also paid back a $15,000 loan she gave to herself when she kicked off her campaign.
Olivera, on the other hand, is continuing her underdog rise to the top as one of the more inexperienced political candidates in the race. Olivera was practically unknown outside of her community before the campaign season, but has proven to be a labor union darling, garnering the support of the newly formed LiUNA-NYC labor union (NYS Laborers and the Mason Tenders District Council) as well as Laborers Local 731 and Steamfitters Local 638.
Her no-nonsense and rogue political agenda has made her one of the favorites in the race. Olivera committed to running an independent campaign outside of the typical political institutions in the area such as the Vanguard Independent Democratic Association (VIDA), which is supporting Butler, and the Walker-led political machine endorsements of Samuel.
Olivera has raised a significant amount of money in the form of $33, 291, has spent $21,845 and still has a remaining $11,446. However, Deidre has the lowest matching claims going into the final two months before the primaries only having $7,669 of the possible $16,683.
I’m enthused that the 41st district is positively responding to our campaign message. For too long we have been governed by the status quo political democratic machine. Our streets are not safe, we are being priced out of our neighborhoods and left in the dark when it pertains to the important decision making processes that affect our quality of life,” said Olivera.
“Our support is widespread and our message is resonating throughout the entire New York City 41st council district of Bedford Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Crown Heights East Flatbush and Ocean hill. Our campaign is continuing to grow and I will continue to work hard to engage our residents; Not solely for the purpose of campaigning, but to empower the voices of the people,” she added.
Butler, one of the early favorites, is remaining confident in his course for the vacant seat. His lower petition signature count has not phased him and as of the latest Campaign Finance Board filings he has reached the max matching claims for his campaign.
“I am very satisfied with my petition turnout. It was really an opportunity to get out and talk to the voters and we are really happy with the turnout. We are looking forward to our matching funds at the end of the month that is going allow us to get our message out there at a more efficient rate going into September 12,” said Butler.
The District Manager of Community Board 3 says he has a “victory plan” that his campaign intends on executing that will ensure his victory which includes the support of TWU Local 100 Labor Union, who has been behind Butler since the beginning.
Provost still remains at the top of the field, in a close fourth place, coming in right behind Butler for signatures. The East Flatbush Democratic District leader (58th Assembly District) seems to have lost a lot of his initial fervor going into the final months of the election season. Nonetheless, Provost has raised a total of $15,788, spending only $5,439 in funds, netting $10,349.
The CFB administers the public financing program of city election campaigns with a $6-to-$1 match for a certain amount of dollars each candidate raises. Participating candidates must meet a two-part threshold–raise a minimum of $5,000 and have 75 individual contributors within the district they are running in. The maximum threshold for public funds is $100,100 for a City Council race with a maximum total spend of $182,000 per candidate in the primaries and another $182,000 in the general election.
The final deadline to contest petition signatures was yesterday while the next CFB filing deadline is August 11 with two more deadlines before the Primary election on September 12.