Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj appears to have outscored his rivals in the fundraising test in advance of the race to replace outgoing Councilman Jimmy Vacca in Council District 13. Gjonaj has raised — by Bronx standards — an astounding $103,730 (in less than 14 weeks) from 182 contributors. Donors from outside New York City accounted for slightly over $45,000 of his mass haul.
Assemblyman Gjonaj, unlike the other announced candidates, says he will not participate in the NYC Campaign Finance Board matching funds program. Gjonaj shared with the Bronx Chronicle his belief that public money should be spend on more important things, such as graffiti removal or after school programs.
Among the candidates participating in the CFB program, Democratic district leader Marjorie Velazquez-Lynch appears to have won the early fundraising race District 13. Velazquez’s CFB report reveals that she raised $64,715 from 262 donors in her first disclosure filing since joining the program late last year. She has met of the CFB’s matching funds qualifying thresholds.
Velazquez appears poised to hit the NYC Campaign Finance Board public funds match limit of $100,100. She has an estimated $19,030 in CFB matching funds claims. She has an estimated $55,660 cash-on-hand (COH).
Although placing third in overall funds raised Council candidate John Doyle has met and blown away all of the public financing qualifying thresholds with 445 small donors contributing to his campaign. Doyle claims 70 percent of his donors live in District 13.
Like rival Marjorie Velazquez, Doyle appears poised to hit the NYC Campaign Finance Board public matching funds $100,100 maximum. In his January disclosure, Doyle reported raising $24K for the reporting period for a total just topping $58,000 (with $26,195 in matching funds claims). He has $41,757 cash-on-hand.
Another candidate, Democrat John Marano is hot on the fundraising heels of John Doyle with 248 donors and a $37,470 war chest, plus $20K in matching claims, thus making him likely to also hit the matching funds $100K max. Marano raised $11,865 this filing period and reports $31,505 COH.
The Campaign Finance Board program pays a 6:1 match for every dollar raised up to $175 from individual NYC residents. City Council candidates may spend up to $182,000 in the primary and general elections, respectively. Conceivably, Velasquez, Doyle and Marano can raise and spend another $75K or so before this year’s September Democratic primary election.
Fundraising by Gjonaj, Velazquez, Doyle and Marano have dwarfed that of previously announced candidate Alex Gomez, who has raised a paltry sum of $4,018 and just $736 raised since July 2016 and Muhammad Abuhaikal, who joined the fray in December and donated $125 — his only reported contribution.
Yesterday was the deadline for Council candidates to report money raised in the latest filing period, which ended January 11, and covered the last six months of 2016.
City Council members earn $148,500, but are subject to term limits and restrictions on outside income.
Council District 13 covers the Morris Park, Throggs Neck and City Island communities in the Bronx.
The Bronx Chronicle will have a separate report on the fundraising totals of other 2017 Bronx political candidates.