January 18, 2013 at 1:54 PM
By Alex Kratz and Will Speros
Candidates running in city elections this year were required to file campaign finance reports this week, giving us a pretty good idea of who the leading contenders for a handful of open Bronx seats will be. Of course, it’s still early and candidates will continue to emerge over the coming months, but those who filed this week are already off and running. Here’s a look at the most interesting City Council races in the Bronx and who’s leading the fundraising game in the 11th, 15th, 16th and 12th districts, which should all be competitive this year.
In District 11 (Riverdale, Kingsbridge, Woodlawn, Norwood), candidates Andrew Cohen ($66,002), Ari Hoffnung ($79,066), and Clifford Stanton ($46,203) have each shown signs of considerable financial support. Cohen and Stanton have already declared their candidacy, while Hoffnung, a former deputy comptroller for John Liu and a past candidate, has not announced whether he is running again this year. Meanwhile, fellow candidate Cheryl Keeling, a local businesswoman and high school track coach who recently threw her hat into the ring, has only raised $1,150.
Stanton, a business owner and school activist, was the first to announce his intentions to run early last year and has also spent the most of any candidate so far ($20,819), followed Cohen ($10,825), a lawyer and politically-active member of Community Board 8, and then Hoffnung ($9,770). Keeling hasn’t spent any money yet, according to the report.
In District 15 (Fordham, Crotona), where Joel Rivera will be departing after three terms, as many as 15 people are said to be considering a run, but only three filed financial disclosure reports: Rivera’s chief of staff, Albert Alvarez, former 14th District candidate Yudelka Tapia and William Rivera (not related to Joel).
Tapia is off to a fast start, having raised $16,122 in the past couple of months. She’s only spent $837 of that money, mostly on a fundraising event in Washington Heights. She’s getting some notable love from Assemblyman Nelson Castro ($250 contribution) as well as State Senator Gustavo Rivera’s chief of staff Conchita Cruz ($25). Alvarez has raised $2,395 so far and spent $116, while William Rivera has brought in just $300 and hasn’t spent anything. It will be interesting to see what Joel Rivera does with his war chest. He’s sitting on a balance of $183,796 and hasn’t indicated any political plans as of yet. He can contribute up to $2,750 of that money to an individual candidate.
The 16th District (Highbridge, Concourse Village) race to replace departing Helen Foster is already much more crowded, with five candidates filing finance reports. Carlose Sierra leads the way with $14,805 raised and $779 spent. He’s followed by Pedro Alvarez ($6,310 raised, $1,499 spent), the ominously-named Ahmadou Diallo ($5,200 raised, $3,611 spent), Abiodou Bello ($200 raised, none spent) and Walter Newsome (who reported zero funds raised or spent).
And finally, in the 12th District (northeast Bronx), which saw Andy King dominate a crowded field during the special election in November to replace convicted felon Larry Seabrook, only two candidates have filed finance reports: Ryan Wright ($425 raised, zero spent) and Jerome Rice (zero funds reported). [Update: We found reports for 12th District on the NYC Campaign Finance Board's website, which includes funds raised for the special election and how much the candidates have received in public matching funds. The other candidates mentioned earlier are new candidates that didn't participate in the special election.Thanks, Matt Sollars.]
No other candidates filed disclosure reports in the 13th (James Vacca), 14th (Fernando Cabrera) or 17th (Maria del Carmen Arroyo) and 18th (Annabel Palma) districts. All of the incumbents in those districts are up for re-election.
The next opportunity for candidates to disclose funds is March 15. You can find all the financial disclosure reports on the New York City Campaign Finance Board’s website.