Campaign Finance Reports
For Borough Races Released
By Luis Gronda
Candidates that are running for public office in this year's City elections released their campaign finance filings on Jan. 15, which shows how much money each candidate has raised so far.
Voters in Queens got their first chance to look at each candidates' war chest for the several public offices in Queens that are up for grabs this year, including Queens Borough President, the races for City Council districts 19 and 24, which include Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) and former Assemblyman Rory Lancman respectively, and the special election for Council District 31, which will be decided next month to fill the seat vacated by State Sen. James Sanders (D-Laurelton).
|According to Campaign Finance Board disclosures, Paul Vallone (left) has raised $34,700 in his bid for the 19th Council District, while his brother, Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (right) has raised more than $1 million in his Borough President bid. Photos by Ira Cohen.
The money filings for the crowded field that is the Queens Borough President race shows where they are at in terms of how much money they have for their campaign going forward.
Of the six candidates that are involved in that race, Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) has declared the most available campaign funds as of the Jan. 15 filing deadline, coming in at $1,016,948.
Vallone said that the amount of money he has raised shows how strong his support base is for his campaign and that he was able to get that much money without holding many fundraising events.
The Councilman, who is term limited, said that with the large campaign war chest in tow, it will allow him to concentrate on issues that affect Queens the most. Among the things that he said he plans to focus his campaign on is public safety. Vallone said that the City is 75 percent safer than we were in 1991 and he will make sure it stays that way. He also plans to continue to fight against cuts in the police force, which now have fewer officers patrolling the streets throughout the five boroughs. Vallone serves as the Chairman of the City Council's Public Safety Committee.
Former Councilwoman Melinda Katz came in second out of the Borough President candidates, raising $283,144, according to numbers released by City Campaign Finance Board.
Katz, who served in the City Council from 2002-2009, announced that she would run for the seat in Oct. 2012 and has picked up the endorsement of former New York City Mayor Ed Koch.
Her campaign sent out a press release thanking her supporters for donating to her candidacy.
"Our fundraising success is a reflection of how well our message is being received among Queens residents," Katz said in a statement. "The campaign, based on improving the lives of all Queens residents by increasing economic opportunities and striking the proper balance with the needs of a community is resonating."
According to the release, her campaign has $250,000 to spend and about $40,000 of the money she raised will be matched by the City's matching funds program, which will give her an additional $240,000 to spend.
State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) has the third most money out of the group of candidates, raising $134,680 in total.
Peralta's campaign emailed a statement expressing gratitude for his supporters.
"I am grateful for the deep, broad support of community leaders, small business owners and engaged members of the community," the State Senator said in the statement. "Their generosity has helped launch this campaign. Their commitment and energy will propel it forward, to a better future for all of Queens."
As for the other Borough President Candidates, Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) raised $61,151, Barry Grodenchik $56,773 and State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) has $6,857 for his campaign.
Democratic District Leader Frank Gulluscio said that while the amount of money each candidate has will certainly be a factor in the race, it is who burns the shoe leather and knocks on people's door that will ultimately decide who emerges as the winner.
"They all bring a lot to the table," he said speaking about the candidates' experience in public office. "It's what they do with it that will count."
Gulluscio added that the new Borough President will need to look at the economic development of the Borough and see how that can be maintained and improved upon. He also said that a big part of the work current Borough President Helen Marshall has done is bringing more libraries to Queens and he would like to see the new BP continue what she has done in that regard.
Lew Simon, a Democratic District Leader from the Rockaways, said that many people in that area of Queens will still be dealing with the after-effects of Superstorm Sandy for a long time and residents in that area will see who is most involved in helping the peninsula recover.
"They're going to vote for the candidate who will help them the most," Simon said.
|Former Assemblyman Rory Lancman has raised more than $85,000 in his campaign for the 24th Council District.
|Donovan Richards has raised more than $51,000 in his bid to replace former boss James Sanders in next month’s special election for the 31st Council District seat.
Another crowded field of candidates have announced their candidacy for the 24th Council District, currently held by Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows). Officially announced candidates so far include former Assemblyman Rory Lancman, Democratic District Leader Martha Taylor, Briarwood Task Force founder Andrea Veras and retired cancer researcher Isaac Sasson, who announced his intentions to run last week.
According to Tuesday's filing, Lancman raised $85,339 for his campaign, Taylor has $55,310, Veras got $2,940 and Sasson's number was not listed on the Campaign Finance Board's website as of press time.
Lancman recently announced that his campaign received endorsements from the Retail, Wholesale, Department Store Workers Union and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500.
Paul Vallone, who is challenging Councilman Halloran's 19th Council District seat that he currently holds, out raised his opponent as of this week's filing. Vallone, who is the younger brother of Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., has $34,700 available for his campaign, compared to Halloran's $24,035. Matthew Silverstein, who is also running for this seat, has raised $8,654 so far.
Just like the Queens Borough President's race, the competition for the vacated 31st Council District seat is also crowded. A special election will be held next month for this seat after State Sen. James Sanders vacated the seat, when he took over for embattled former Senator Shirley Huntley.
Donovan Richards, who served as Sanders' chief of staff, raised the most money, bringing in $51,745. Next was Rosedale community activist Michael Duncan who has $40,919 in total. Coming in third was Jacques Leandre with $22,045. Other candidates in that race who also filed were Selvena Brooks, who raised a little more than $17,000, and Earnest Flowers, who got almost $8,000.
Reach Reporter Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127 or at email@example.com.