New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Gotham Gazette Report: Under New Law, Small Donors Drove Public Advocate Special Election Campaigns by Samar Khurshid

Report: Under New Law, Small Donors Drove Public Advocate Special Election Campaigns

According to CFB’s own analysis released the day after the election, the most common contribution amount was $10, down from $100 in previous public advocate elections. “The matching funds give candidates the incentives to raise money the right way, by going to the New York City voters they want to represent in government, not to big-money donors or special interests,” said Amy Loprest, CFB executive director, in a statement on February 27. “If we want a government that is closer and more responsive to the people, it has to start with how candidates fund their campaigns.”

Kallos, the City Council’s resident good government wonk, has pushed improvements to the city’s campaign finance law for years and felt vindicated by seeing the campaign finance numbers behind the election. The ballot question, proposed by a charter revision commission created by Mayor Bill de Blasio, was largely similar to a bill Kallos had sponsored in the previous legislative session of the Council.

“One of the reasons I was so eager for this to apply in the public advocate’s race is I was worried about the time between the vote in November [2019] and 2021 and I wanted to prove to people that this could work,” he said. There will be another public advocate election this fall to decide who will hold the seat vacated by Attorney General Letitia James for the final two years of her public advocate term. Kallos’ bill also lowered the thresholds for candidates to qualify for official debates sponsored by the CFB and for public funds payments.

Issues

Get involved to make your voice heard.

Get monthly updates with the information you need to make a difference.