Public money pours into Brooklyn borough president’s race

Four of 12 contenders vying to replace term-limited Borough President Eric Adams received public matching funds on Feb. 16.
Courtesy of candidates/File photos

From rags to riches!

After several months without any of the candidates for Brooklyn borough president receiving any public matching funds, the top four contenders of 12 running to succeed term-limited Borough President Eric Adams received taxpayer windfalls on Feb. 16, as noted in the city’s Campaign Finance Board’s latest filings.

In order to receive the $8-to-$1 public financing match for the Brooklyn borough president’s race, candidates must raise $50,000 with contributions of $175 or less to be eligible for the matching funds. Additionally, none of the contributions can come from people or entities with business before the city. The borough president’s office is the toughest threshold to reach.

Central Brooklyn Councilman Robert Cornegy currently leads the pack with $576,507 in public funds distributed to his campaign Tuesday. Combined with donations, he’s raised about $937,000 this filing.

The pol, who represents Bedford-Stuyvesant and northern Crown Heights, said the journey to come back from COVID-19 and “build a better Brooklyn” continues.

“I am so honored to earn this outpouring of support of such a diverse coalition of grassroots donors, distinguished voices, and committed public servants,” said Cornegy. “From the 24,000 hardworking men and women of Teamsters 237, to elected officials fighting for the people of Brooklyn across the borough, to cultural icons and inspirational social justice champions like Spike Lee and Tracy Morgan — this is a growing grassroots movement that knows Brooklyn’s best days lie ahead.”

Just behind Cornegy is health advocate Khari Edwards, who reeled in a cool $491,182.

“I am proud of the unprecedented level of grassroots support our campaign has built across Brooklyn and I know that our momentum, which easily rivals that of the politicians in this race, will only continue to grow stronger,” said Edwards, a hospital exec who was the first vice president of external affairs of color chosen to serve Brookdale Hospital.

Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon (D-Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill) came in third with $481,224. Not far behind is Councilmember Antonio Reynoso (D-Williamsburg, Bushwick, Ridgewood) with $462,880.

“Our campaign has always been powered by the community, and we’re proud to have the most individual donors, the smallest average contribution size, and the highest percentage of donations from within the borough,” said Reynoso’s spokesperson. “Today’s public matching funds dispersal makes it clear that we have the support of everyday Brooklynites in this race — not special interests or real estate developers. We are confident that we will raise what we need to win while continuing to expand our grassroots fundraising base.”

Cornegy, Simon, Edwards, and Reynoso also lead the pack in private funds.

Candidates filed their most recent disclosure reports on Jan. 15. The CFB has paid a total of $37,778,768 to candidates citywide so far this election cycle, including previous payments in December and January, according to the board.

In the last round, no borough president race candidates saw matching funds. According to previous CFB figures, Cornegy had raised $192,877 and applied for $50,886 for matching funds, but after a CFB review of the claims, the board decided he was short of the $50,000. Reynoso had raised $104,682, but only put in $46,420 for matching claims, also falling short of the threshold.

The next deadline for candidates to apply for matching funds is March 15, when disclosure reports are also due. There will be a public funds payment in April based on the disclosures filed in March and there are a total of eight public fund payments scheduled prior to the June 22 primary election.

This story first appeared on KingsCountyPolitics.com.