U. S. Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-Crown Heights, Flatbush, East Flatbush, Brownsville, Sheepshead Bay) is facing a serious primary challenge this year from Adem Bunkeddeko, who managed to raise nearly $121,000 to Clarke’s $164,000 according to their end of year campaign disclosure reporters.
Bunkeddeko’s campaign has emphasized that all of his money came from individuals, rather than from corporations or political action committees (PACs), with nearly $19,000 from small donations of under $200.
Quarterly filing numbers are usually regarded as a way to gauge enthusiasm for candidates. While his funding total is impressive, and shows that he is a good fundraiser and that a number of people may believe in his platform, it is yet to be seen how this will translate to direct enthusiasm in his district against an incumbent. A closer look at his filing reveals a majority of his donations, roughly $99,000, come from large donations from outside of his district.
“Donald Trump’s presidency is a national crisis, and people from every part of our city and country want to be part of the solution. But our community faces a lack of leadership that reflects a crisis here and in cities across America. People everywhere want to support strong Democratic candidates with the courage to stand up to Trump, and I’m honored to have their support,” said Bunkeddeko
Clarke in contrast received $108,000 in individual contributions, including more than $13,000 in small donations, and $56,000 coming from a number of different PACs and other political campaigns.
After operating expenses, Bunkeddeko finished the year with $71,000 cash on hand, another important number to look out for as the race begins to ramp up approaching the June 26 primary.
Clarke, first elected to the house of representatives in 2006, has the benefit of being the incumbent and entered 2018 with about $148,000 cash on hand after operating and other expenses such as contributions to other democratic campaigns. She has not faced a primary challenger since 2012, when the 9th district was redrawn, and has easily defeated her general election opponents since.
Still Bunkdekko argues that it is time for a change and that people will find that he is the right person for the job.
He believes that his previous experience as a community organizer and longtime member of Community Board 8, makes him privy to the issues most important to members of his district.
He added, “Just yesterday, Trump proposed slashing NYCHA funding. From nearly a decade of work in this community, I know that housing is the number one issue families struggle with, as folks who built our neighborhood are forced out in droves.”
Clarke campaign spokeswoman Ronnie Oliva responded, “Congresswoman Yvette Clarke is running on her record, and come primary day, the voters will decide.”