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Candidates rake in the dough

With less than two months remaining before the Democratic primary, City Council candidates throughout Brooklyn have been urging supporters to make their financial contributions as they enter the final stretch of their campaigns.

Candidates can raise money up to the September 15 primary, though political strategists believe that the heaviest campaign spending will likely occur over the next four weeks as candidates begin the final push to win election to City Council.

In the competitive seven-way 33rd District City Council race to replace Councilmember David Yassky (D-Williamsburg, Brooklyn Heights, Boerum Hill), four have collected more than $50,000 by the July 15 filing date.Boerum Hill resident Jo Anne Simon has raised $103,414, while Greenpoint resident Steve Levin has reported $90,746, Williamsburg resident Evan Thies has raised $84,345 and Brooklyn Heights resident Ken Diamondstone has brought in $58,924.

Simon has spent the most, burning through $83,992, while Levin has spent $58,003, Thies $54,291, and Diamondstone $46,251.Each has hired campaign staff, have set up temporary headquarters, and distributed colorful campaign brochures and mailers, accounting for much of their spending.

Williamsburg resident Isaac Abraham is just shy of Diamondstone with $45,466, spending nearly all he has raised at $43,258. Boerum Hill resident Ken Baer has brought in $23,511 and spent more than he has raised – $33,080 – making him the only candidate in the race with any debt, while Brooklyn Heights resident Doug Biviano has reported $20,785 and spent $16,376.

In the 34th District City Council race, incumbent Councilmember Diana Reyna is facing a competitive challenge from two opponents. Both challengers, Bushwick resident Maritza Davila and Williamsburg resident Gerry Esposito, have also outraised her in campaign funds, but Reyna is counting on high name recognition in the district to help her win reelection.

Davila has reported $80,430 and spent $46,825, while Esposito has raised $79,784 and spent $68,462, and Reyna has reported $63,389 and spent $26,875.

Davila has hired Alison Frost, a seniors issues specialist in Assemblymember Vito Lopez’s office (D-Williamsburg), as her campaign manager, while Reyna has brought over Antonio Reynoso from her district office to handle communications. Esposito has hired ChangeNYC.org’s bloggers and longtime political activists Gary Tilzer to manage his campaign and Morgan Pehme to handle communications.

In the 39th District, five candidates are vying to succeed Councilmember Bill De Blasio. Park Slope residents Josh Skaller and Brad Lander have raised the most money, with Lander reporting $115,486 and Skaller reporting $101,089. Skaller has spent $72,806 while Lander has spent $65,608.

Close behind is Caroll Gardens resident Bob Zuckerman, who has raised $80,695 but spent $74,848, more than any other candidate.

Jon Heyer of Carroll Gardens has raised $57,305 but spent $84,593 and Cobble Hill resident Gary Reilly has raised $26,330 but spent $33,351.  Both candidates in the 39th District race appear to be carrying debt, though the Heyer campaign insists that the figures can be misleading, claiming that the numbers reflect their expenses plus projected liabilities through the general election.

“The Heyer campaign is not running a deficit, and will not run a deficit at any point in this race,” said Jesse Adelman, Heyer’s campaign manager.  “While it would be interesting to compare the projected liabilities of all the campaigns through November, comparing ours to the actual expenses incurred by other campaigns thus far is misleading.”

All figures are from the New York City Campaign Finance Board.

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