Running a political campaign is as much about raising money as it is about convincing hearts and minds. And with the New York City Council 2021 elections getting into full swing, the candidates are already out hustling to bring in funds.
Here are the top five fundraisers so far for candidates for New York City Council seats in Queens based off of the most recent filing with the New York City Campaign Finance Board.
Lynn Schulman – District 29
Private funds raised: $71,067
Funds claimed as eligible for the 8 to 1 match: $31,031
Total remaining: $59,936
Lynn Schulman, who’s vying for term-limited City Councilmember Karen Koslowitz’s (D-Rego Park, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill) seat in District 29, has raised the most in private funds in the borough –– by a long shot. She’s sixth in the city overall for private funds and once the city matches her funds eligible for the city matching program, she’ll be rolling in the dough.
This is Schulman’s third time running for the seat. Her first attempt was in 2001 when Koslowitz became term limited for the first time. She lost to current District Attorney Melinda Katz. She then tried again in 2009 but lost to Koslowitz.
As the presumptive party favorite, Schulman has received donations from around a dozen city councilmembers including the current holder of the office, Koslowitz. She’s also received support from a handful of state lawmakers and candidate committees.
Schulman currently works as the community and emergency services liaison for the New York City Council. If elected, she would be the first openly lesbian elected official in Queens.
Alfonso Quiroz – District 25
Private funds raised: $41,572
Funds claimed as eligible for the 8 to 1 match: $3,005
Total remaining: $41,146
Alfonso Quiroz has the second biggest war chest out of the Queens candidates in the 2021 city council races.
Quiroz is an advocate for small businesses in Jackson Heights, the president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Queens, and a spokesperson for Con Edison. He is running to replace term-limited City Councilmember Daniel Dromm (D-Elmhurst, Jackson Heights) in District 25.
Most of his funds are from a previous campaign with just under $6,000 of new donations, of which only $3,005 of which he says are eligible for matching funds. Quiroz needs about $2,000 more to meet the threshold for the city’s matching program. However, once the city hands out matching funds, his opponent, Shekar Krishnan, may overtake him.
Shekar Krishnan – District 25
Private funds raised: $41,249
Funds claimed as eligible for the 8 to 1 match: $12,335
Total remaining: $40,169
Shekar Krishnan is also running for City Councilmember Daniel Dromm’s seat. He is a lawyer for low-income tenants facing eviction and housing discrimination and a co-founder of a nonprofit housing legal services organization. He is also the president of the New Visions Democratic Club, a club founded by Dromm.
So far he’s filed as having received no money from PACs, other candidate committees or labor unions. About half of the private funds he’s received come from outside of New York City.
Krishnan has claimed more than $12k in matching eligible funds and if all of them pass the city’s audit, he’ll receive nearly $100k from the city.
Sandra Ung – District 20
Private funds raised: $40,573
Funds claimed as eligible for the 8 to 1 match: $20,930
Total remaining: $39,624
District 20 Candidate Sandra Ung is seeking to replace term-limited City Councilmember Peter Koo (D-Downtown Flushing, Murray Hill, Queensboro Hill). Ung is a longtime Flushing resident, an aide to Congresswoman Grace Meng, and a recently elected representative to the Democratic State Committee.
More than $30k of her privately raised funds come from contributors who live in New York City, two thirds of which she claims qualify for matching funds.
If elected, Ung will be the first Asian-American woman to represent Flushing in the City Council.
Richard Lee – District 19
Private funds raised: $32,450
Funds claimed as eligible for the 8 to 1 match: $21,235
Total remaining: $31,790
Candidate for District 19 Richard Lee is the budget director for the Queens borough president. Lee hopes to replace City Councilmember Paul Vallone (D-Auburndale, Bay Terrace, Bayside, Beechhurst, College Point, Douglaston, Flushing, Little Neck, Malba, Whitestone) who is term-limited.
Lee’s claim to fundraising fame is that, except for around $2k, he’s raised nearly all of his funds from contributors who live in New York City. And, of the approximately $2k from outside of the city, only 8 are from outside of New York state.
According to the New York City Campaign Finance Board, the city will begin disbursements for the 8 to 1 matching programing for eligible funds in December and the candidates’ next disclosure statement must be filed in January.