UPDATED: Bronx Council Candidates Dash for Campaign Cash, Part 1

Council Candidates 2017 Fundraising (March 12-May 11)

ben-franklins_us-currency_bigstockphotoMidnight Monday was the filing deadline for candidates running for citywide and City Council offices. The two-month disclosure period being reported began on March 12 and ended May 11. Some candidates began filing their disclosure reports as early as last Friday, May 12.

In the Bronx there are six districts where incumbent Council Members are seeking another term. Three districts (8, 13, 18) are open due to term-limits barring the incumbents from seeking re-election. The Bronx Chronicle lists the Bronx City Council candidates, their fundraising totals, and a link to their campaign website or social media.

The nine candidates competing to replace the term-limited Councilman Jimmy Vacca in Bronx District 13 have raised 0ver $584K from 2,052 donors. Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj raised 60 percent of those combined funds based on just 26 percent of the total donors. The money chase isn’t over as the next finance disclosure period closes on July 11 and the filing is due July 17.

The Campaign Finance Board administers New York City’s public matching funds program, provides campaign finance disclosure, and engages voters in learn about those seeking to represent them in public office. In order to qualify for matching funds, participants must meet a two-part threshold, meet program requirements, and face opposition on the ballot. Only the first $175 of an individual New York City resident’s contribution is matched 6-1 with public funds. Persons doing business with the City may only contribute a $400 maximum which is not matchable.

The deadline to join NYC’s campaign finance program — and to be eligible for public funds — is June 12.


District 8 — Open due to term-limits (Melissa Mark-Viverito) — El Barrio/East Harlem, Mott Haven

Diana Ayala, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s deputy chief of staff and handpicked successor, is participating in the public campaign finance program. She has raised a total of $58,966 with an estimated $52,089 unspent. For the reporting period, her net contributions were $10,238 and net expenditures came to $2,320. Ms. Ayala has 435 contributors, who gave an average of $135, and $23,054 in matching funds claims.

Edward L. Gibbs has raised a total of $10,228 with an estimated $7,908 unspent. For the reporting period net contributions $10,238; net expenditures $2,320. Gibbs has $8368 in matching funds claims and 223 contributors who gave an average of $46.

Tamika L. Mapp, an East Harlem mom who goes by the Twitter handle Mrs. Mapp, has raised $1,535 plus a $2,000 loan in the last period to reach $3,535 in contributions, and only $568 on hand. She isn’t close to meeting any of the matching funds thresholds as she only has 13 donors and $785 in matching claims.

Edward Santos has raised $5788 in the last period to reach $19,968 in total contributions, with net expenditures $5632. His war chest has $14,336 , plus $11,075 in matching funds claims. Santos has 286 contributors who gave an average of $70.


District 11 — Riverdale, Kingsbridge Heights, Norwood

Andy Cohen (incumbent): As of May 12, Councilman Cohen appears to be unopposed. Cohen raised $2,750, plus net expenditures of $2,154 for the last period. He has reached $25,600 in contributions and $17,654 cash on hand, plus $5,950 in matching funds claims. Cohen’s campaign has attracted 90 donors (86 percent in-city) who gave an average of $284 resulting in $5,950 in matching claims. But a quick review of the filing shows CM Cohen to be short of the 75 in-district donors threshold.


District 12 — Co-op City, Wakefield

Andy King (incumbent): filed a report that depicts him as a “raise and spend” Democrat, who spends his war chest almost as quickly as he raises donations.Thus far, the King campaign has raised over $105,000 from 288 donors and spent nearly $103,000 of his treasury — leaving the campaign with a funds balance of $3,336. Only one vendor remains unpaid: NY Brass Band is owed $500 after performing at King’s annual New Year’s Day fundraising gala.

The recent two-month period was his worse to-date, as the King campaign spent more ($4891) than it raised ($2550). On average, his donors (288) ponied up $368.  King looks in danger of exceeding the $49,000 out-year spending limit for Council campaigns. His matching funds claim stand at a paltry $3,550.

King still owes the city Campaign Finance Board $29,987 in outstanding penalties and repayments.  He owes $12,048 in penalties and $17,939 for and outstanding refund of public payments for violations of CFB rules from his 2012 special election.

Pamela Johnson-Harrison raised $790 in contributions, reported $12 in net expenditures giving her campaign $778 as her campaign’s bank balance. With only 20 contributors and $790 in matching claims, Ms. Johnson-Harrison has to climb a steep hill if she is going to meet the CFB matching funds thresholds. Her campaign doesn’t appear to have a campaign website, Twitter page or any social media presence.

Karree-Lyn Gordon in her first filing reported that she is her only contributor. She made three separate donations to herself totaling $1,172, while spending $81 and leaving $1.091 on hand. Ms. Gordon’s campaign doesn’t appear to have a campaign website, Twitter page or any social media presence.


District 13 — Open due to term-limits (Jimmy Vacca)– City Island, Morris Park, Silver Beach

John Cerini, the lone Republican in the race, is out raising money for the November general election. His Statement 8 report showed net contributions of $18,240; net expenditures of $1258; and an estimated balance $16,982. The campaign is claiming $8,850 in matching funds and over two-thirds of his money was raised locally from a base of 174 donors.

John Marano reported net contributions $3,105 and net expenditures $1,001 for the current reporting Statement 8. Marano has raised $42,935 and has an estimated war chest balance of $35,423. He has 286 campaign donors who’ve given an average $150 donation. Eighty-six percent of his contributions are from city residents. His matching claim of $23,605 will qualify him for the maximum CFB payout of $100,100, if and when he makes the ballot.

Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj is not participating in the public matching funds program. His campaign has raised over $350K, spent $139K and still has well over $212K in the bank. Nonetheless, Gjonaj’s fundraising has blown up the field in District 13. Fifty-six percent of his donations come from out-of-town. His average contribution is $601. If Gjonaj’s spending exceeds the CFB’s $162K limit, his opponents will get more public money. But given the recent negative media coverage on the connections between his family real estate business, his brother’s City Island restaurant, Don Coqui By The Water and his campaign spending, one must wonder how his Council bid will be affected.

John  Doyle, a hospital administrator and former staff assistant to state Senator Jeff Klein raised $4,976 this last period to reach $70,056 in  total contributions, and $49,824 on hand, plus $29,675 in matching fund claims. Doyle, too, should qualify for the maximum public funds payout of $100,100. His campaign has 524 donors — the most of any District 13 candidate — who, on average, gave $134, and 89.6 percent who are New York City residents.

Marjorie Velázquéz, a Democratic district leader backed by incumbent CM Jimmy Vacca, raised $22,706 in the last period to reach $92,796 in contributions, $78,692 in the bank, plus $24,891 in matching funds claims. Velázquéz’s campaign has attracted 383 donors (81.6 percent in-city) who gave an average of $242. Velázquéz is on track have enough money to compete with Daddy Warbuck’s Gjonaj.

Alex Gomez, who began his campaign in 2015, has had lackluster fundraising. Gomez has only 69 donors to his campaign. He didn’t raise any money this period but reported $2,244 in net expenditures, March to May. Mr. Gomez has $5478, including $1,135 in in-kind contributions. The campaign’s treasury has a funds balance of $1,941 on hand. Matching fund claims total $3,275.

Victor Ortiz reported $511 in contributions, expenditures of $219 for a CFB-estimated $292 funds balance. Ortiz has 27 donors and $250 in matching claims. The Bronx Chronicle could not find a campaign website or social media presence.

Muhammad Abuhaikal, an Arab-Israeli immigrant small business owner and ex-NYPD cop has raised only $1,544 this period, plus $886 in expenditures. Overall, his fledgling fundraising operation has garnered $2,514 in total contributions with $901 in net expenditures, leaving $1,613 in campaign coffers. Abuhaikal has 48 contributors and $2,132 in matching claims.


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