First Matching Funds Disbursed In Bronx Council Contest

Six Council Candidates Race Towards February 23 Special Election


On Wednesday, the city’s Campaign Finance Board  reported that the first disbursement of $34,741 in matching funds was distributed to Council District 17 candidate Rev. J. Loren Russell. Russell has raised $15,785 so far giving him $50,000 to spend in the race to replace former Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo who abruptly resigned last December.


Rafael Salamanca, Jr., who is the preferred candidate of the Bronx Democratic party establishment, has raised over $70,000 and while spending $52,000. Ninety-five donors giving $200 or more contributed a total of $56,375 to Salamanca’s campaign. Nine elected officials gave $1375 each. Over $30,000 in public funds are yet to be released by the CFB to the Salamanca campaign.


Powerhouse labor union TWU Local 100 endorsed Mr. Salamanca in the upcoming special election on 2/23. Recently, Julio Pabón was endorsed by the Bronx postal workers union local. Pabón was active in efforts opposing the decommissioning and sale of the iconic Bronx General Post Office.


Pabón has raised $15,363 and has spent $9700 of it. Sources say his matching funds are being held up pending a CFB audit of cash contributions taken. Pabón’s campaign accepted a $1500 over-the-limit donation from the Amalgamated Transportation Union (ATU) but promptly refunded $125.


Reached for comment, Mr. Pabón acknowledged the “CFB snarl” on his first public funds submission and is awaiting the results of the campaign’s third filing. “We have more donors (293) than any other candidate but all my donors are $10 and $15 [and] very few [have given the] maximum. Therefore, [it’s] taking us a bit longer to get to thresholds.”


A review of the CFB disclosure reports show that Mr. Pabón indeed has the most contributors, 293. Of that 250 donors gave $50 or less, and his donations average $54. Mr. Salamanca has reported 279 contributors giving an average of $251. Pastor Russell has 257 donors whose average donation is $61.


To receive public funds payments, participating candidates must satisfy all eligibility requirements, including a two-part fundraising threshold: (1) 75 council district donors and (2) raise a minimum of $5000 in matchable contributions. A number of candidates complained that given the truncated 45 days election timeframe the thresholds should have been reduced by half.


CM Arroyo’s ex-aide, Joann Otero has raised over $14,000 and spent $9287 leaving only $5155 cash-on-hand. Otero amassed $6475 from 18 contributors giving $250 or more. She also awaits a matching funds disbursement.


George Alvarez and Marlon M. Molina report $23,000 and $723 cash-on-hand, respectively. Alvarez raised $4355 from 114 small donors giving less than $50. Nine donors giving $250 – $1000 contributed $6050 to Alvarez’s coffers. Molina has given his campaign $500. It appears that Molina will not meet any of the CFB’s qualifying thresholds for matching funds.


New York City’s matching funds program provides public funds to participating candidates at a rate of $6-to-$1 for contributions from City residents. For special elections the match applies to the first $87 contributed, for a maximum of $522 in public funds per contributor.


This past Monday, the NYC Board of Elections ruled five other Council District 17 candidates ineligible to appear on the special election ballot. Carlton Curry, Helen Foreman-Hines, John Perez, Eliot Quinones, and Amanda Septimo saw their fledgling campaigns end.


The special election will be held on Tuesday, February 23rd. Polls will be open for voters to cast their ballots from 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email