Eight candidates running in the Queens Borough President special election filed their campaign finance reports to the New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) on January 15.
At this point in the election, only four candidates have raised six-figure sums, positioning themselves as the only ones able to afford expansive, costly campaigns.
Council Member James Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City, Astoria, Dutch Kills) raised $463,701, the most funds among all the candidates, and spent $260,000, outspending every other candidate. Trailing closely behind is former council member Elizabeth Crowley who raised $452,090 and whose relatively moderate spending has left her with the largest war chest at $219,894.
Both campaigns’ fundraising efforts are remarkable considering that the next two most prolific campaigns by Council Member Costa Costantinides (D-Astoria, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside) and Council Member Donovan Richards, (D-Arverne, Brookville, Edgemere, Far Rockaway, Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens) which raised $227,711 and $198,649, respectively, combined do not shoot up to Bramer’s goliath campaign.
It’s notable that although sitting council members have raised the most funds, former council member Crowley has elbowed her way to a top spot. However, she may soon be leagues ahead of the competition.
All eight candidates have opted into the NYC Campaign Finance Program, which matches individual contributions made by NYC residents to any candidate running for office eight to one. Through the program, if a NYC resident donates $10 to a campaign, for example, the city will contribute an additional $80. But there are limits.
An individual can contribute up to $750 to a candidate and only $175 of that will be matched by the city. Furthermore, in the special election, the program would only match up to $153,750 of individual contributions, adding up to $1,230,000 in public funds.
Crowley is the only candidate who seems as if they may reach that limit.
According to her campaign’s finance report, she may have $115,345 in contributions matched by the city. As of now, the figures are only an estimate since the report must undergo an audit by the CFB to determine how much of those contributions are eligible for the program. However, if the claims are accurate, Crowley would haul in $922,760.
The CFB has not yet announced when the public funds would be dispersed.
The public funds would greatly benefit Constantinides whose campaign has a purse of $14,348 and an outstanding loan of $30,000. According to his finance report, his campaign could claim up to $632,352.