UPDATED: Bronx Council Candidates Dash for Campaign Cash, Part 2

NY City Hall _ Council Chambers

Council Candidates 2017 Fundraising (March 12-May 11)

Midnight 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.

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.

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.


District 14 — Fordham, Kingsbridge, Morris Heights

Rev. Fernando Cabrera (incumbent) raised $20,380 in the last period to reach $$62,070 in total contributions to-date, plus net expenditures of $1,152 and $$57,115 on hand. CM Cabrera’s campaign has attracted 128 donors (66 percent in-city) who gave an average of $$489 resulting in $$6,630 in matching claims. With only 12 local donors residing in District 14, CM Cabrera is on a key CFB threshold required to trigger a public funds payment. But there’s still time.

Randy Abreu, an attorney with DC experience (and an Obama connection) both on Capitol Hill and the Energy Department, raised $12,711 in the last period to reach $28,804 in contributions and $3,186 in net expenditures in his first bid for public office — he was a Sanders delegate in 2016. His committee, Abreu For NYC reports $25,398 in unspent contributions and $11,361 in matching claims. Fifty-six percent of donations originate in NYC and the campaign’s 386 donors gave on average $74.

Felix Perdomo raised $10,277 in the last period to reach $8805 in contributions with net expenditures of $2,281. Perdomo has lent his campaign $25,000. His filing shows $32,995 in campaign coffers and $8,430 in matching claims. A CFB analysis shows a $67 average donation from 154 donors with 99 percent of his donations coming from in-city residents.

Justin Sanchez, a self-described “community activist,” netted $16,629 in the last period to reach $30,497 in contributions, plus net expenditures $17,685 leaving $12,542 on hand. The campaign attracted 328 donors contributing an average of $101 and generating $12,604 in matching claims. Eighty-one percent of Sanchez donations were made by NYC residents.


District 15 — Fordham, Tremont, Belmont

Ritchie Torres (incumbent) looked, at first, to be unopposed for re-election until a martial arts enthusiast and a advocate for military veterans announced recent challenges. CM Torres is one of the few Bronx incumbents with fundraising totaling six-figures. He raised $20,675 in the last reporting period to reach $212,939 in contributions, net expenditures $6,793 and $172,098 on hand. One of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s top bundlers, Michael C. Woloz bundled $3,200 for CM Torres. A CFB analysis reported 488 contributors and  shows that 73 percent of Torres’ donations ($155,759) come from New York City residents. The Torres campaign doesn’t seem to have a website or social media presence.

Jayson Cancel, Jr. registered with the CFB in late April and reported no funds raised for the current period. He seems to have no campaign website or social media presence.

Gonzalo Duran, a Bronx veterans advocate and founder of Devil Dog USA Inc., is not registered with the CFB.


District 16 — Highbridge, Morrisania

Vanessa L. Gibson (incumbent): As of May 12, CM Gibson looks to be unopposed. She has raised $x,xxx in the last reporting period to reach $47,936 in contributions, net period expenditures $33,634 and $14,302 on hand. NYC Campaign Finance Board analysis of her contributions revealed 155 donors giving $309 on average and that 86 percent of Gibson’s contributors are NYC residents. She also has $6,911 in matching fund claims.

In December 2016, the CFB slapped CM Gibson with “a whopping $68,639 fine” (plus repaying $2,520.28 in public funds) for a series of campaign finance act violations. Her 2013 campaign exceeded the CFB’s mandated spending limit of $168,000. The campaign was asked to pay the fine by March 30, 2017. The law allows the CFB to begin civil action to collect the funds owed. To date, CM Gibson hasn’t paid the fine. If she were to seek matching funds for this year’s election, the CFB would withhold any qualifying funds.

The Gibson campaign didn’t respond to an inquiry from The Bronx Chronicle.


District 17 — Mott Haven, Melrose, West Farms

Rafael Salamanca, Jr. (incumbent) raised $55,285 in the last period to reach $135,270 in contributions, and has $126,074 on hand. 182 contributors for a $661 average 55 percent from NYC and $9,485 in matching claims.

Helen Foreman-Hines, who is making her third bid for this seat, reported $3,719 in net contributions and net expenditures totaling $543 for reporting period 8. Ms. Foreman-Hines raised $5,635 from 149 donors for an average contribution of $38. 83 percent from NYC contributors and $4,625 in matching claims.

Elvis Santana reported net contributions, $1955; net expenditures of $59 from 27 donors (83 percent NYC residents) giving $72 on average for $1,525 in matching claims. At this time, Mr. Santana appears short of the CFB criteria for receiving matching funds.

Patrick Delices (the self-described “People’s Politician”) reported raising $1,918 in contributions and net expenditures of $829 for the period.  A CFB analysis reveals that the campaign has $1,074 cash on hand and contributions from 26 donors (58.7 percent, NYC residents) giving $74 on average for $1,125 in matching claims.


District 18Open (CM Annabel Palma) – Parkchester, Castle Hill, Soundview, Harding Park

Amanda Farias, a former staff director of the City Council’s Women’s Caucus, raised $6,078 in the last period to reach $26,131 in total contributions, and has $25,571 on hand, plus $19,251 in matching funds claims. Ms. Farias’ campaign has attracted 431 donors (88 percent in-city) who gave an average of $62. At this point, Ms. Farias only spending has been a paltry $490 in fees for a fundraising service. If she makes the Primary ballot, the Farias campaign should receive the maximum public funds payout of $100,100.

Elvin Garcia, an openly gay candidate and former aide to Mayor Bill de Blasio has been the most aggressive in the dash for campaign cash. Garcia raised $12,086 in the last period to reach $55,386 in contributions, and a healthy $53,000 on hand. The Garcia campaign refunded $500 for an over-the-limit contribution. A CFB contribution analysis showed 572 donors who gave on average $102 and 80 percent of whom are NYC residents.

State Sen. Rev. Rubén Díaz, who’s running to recapture his former post, raised $96,230 in the last period to reach $97,067 in contributions from 218 donors. The campaign’s $3,166 in spending leaves a war chest balance of $93,901. Seventy-three percent of Diaz donors reside in the city. Senator Diaz says he will be accepting public matching dollars. The Diaz campaign has not set up a website or social media pages.

Michael Beltzer, an ex-aide to former Comptroller John Liu, raised $4,483 and spent $1,120 in the last period to reach $13,095 in contributions, plus $2,334 in net spending. His campaign coffers boast $10,761 on hand, and $10,410 in matching fund claims. Beltzer claims 115 in-district contributors out of a total of 291 small donors who’ve given on average $45. Ninety-two percent of his donations come from NYC residents.

William Moore, a perennial candidate for local office, raised $20 in the last period to reach $120 in contributions, including himself ($100). Mr. Moore was defeated by CM Annabel Palma in 2013.

John Perez, who ran in nearby District 17 (he was removed from the ballot after the city’s Board of Elections determined that his petition did not meet the minimum requirement of 450 valid signatures) last year, hopes to have better luck in the Southeast Bronx. As of press time, the retired US Army Sergeant’s latest campaign filing was available on the CFB website. Perez’s only contribution was his own $200 donation back in February.  And as of press time, the Perez campaign had the CFB submission deadline for the latest filing.

Carl Lundgren is the Green Party candidate in District 18. He is newly registered with the city’s Campaign Finance Board.


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

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