July 28, 2009

As Usual, Money Fuels Council Incumbency

According to the NYC Campaign Finance Board, as of July 27, the 43 incumbent council members running for reelection have significantly out raised their nearest primary opponent by a margin of more than three to one ($3.8M to $1.55M). The average raised for an incumbent is $88,549. The average for the nearest challenger is $26,877.

There is even greater disparity between the contribution totals of the top twenty council members, sixteen of whom voted to extend term limits and are running for a third term ($2.9M to $600K). The average raised for a top twenty incumbent is $146,867. The average for the nearest challenger is $31,184. That's a margin of almost five to one.

And Bloomberg has out raised Thompson by a margin of almost ten to one ($36.6M to $3.8M). The Campaign Finance Board says on their site that their "program amplifies the impact of New Yorkers’ small contributions by matching them with public funds, reducing the possibility and the perception of corruption associated with large contributions and unlimited campaign spending."

Matching contributions with public funds does not cut it. No amount of reform and regulation will ever make it a fair fight in New York City. This is why the people voted twice for term limits, and why a new ironclad, intractable term limit law must be enacted.

Here is a breakdown of the top twenty council members by their contribution total, as well as the contribution total of their nearest primary challenger:

Incumbent Contributions Challenger Contributions
Garodnick (D) $471,269 Ashok Chandra $24,861
Lappin (D) 320,971 Stephen Kaufman 110
*Vacca (D) 293,495 None 0
*Arroyo 206,088 None 0
*Felder (D) 185,660 None 0
*Comrie (D,WF) 163,315 Clyde Vanel 28,330
Gentile 157,392 Robert Capano 11,900
*Quinn (D) 148,216 Yetta Kurland 78,660
*Sears (D) 128,493 David Dromm 103,958
*Koppell (D) 115,388 Tony Cassino 101,440
*Vallone Jr (D) 99,730 Lynne Serpe 9,414
*Dickens (D) 97,505 Landon Dais 7,235
*Gonzalez (D) 87,231 Robinson Iglesis 6,264
*Fidler (D) 78,602 Ayo Johnson 8,632
Mitchell (D) 72,435 Deborah Rose 27,567
*Jackson (D) 67,092 Miguel Lantigua 18,976
*White (D) 66,915 Lynn Nunes 32,041
*Reyna (D) 63,389 Maritza Davila 80,430
*Sanders Jr. (D) 58,800 Michael Duncan 32422
*Stewart (D) 55,345 Jumaane Williams 51,448

* indicates a candidate who voted to extend term limits
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