To qualify for matching funds, a candidate needs to raise at least $250,000 from city residents who contribute between $10 and $250. Participating candidates may also accept contributions of up to $2,000 from donors, regardless of whether or not they’re New York City denizens, but this money cannot be matched. Candidates like McGuire who opt out of the program altogether may raise up to $5,100 from donors and are allowed to spend as much as they want.
So far, the city Campaign Finance Board has verified that two mayoral contenders, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and City Comptroller Scott Stringer, have met the requirements, though former mayoral counsel Maya Wiley’s campaign said last week that she’d also raised enough to qualify.
Adams had $6.7 million on-hand compared to Stringer’s $5.8 million; Stringer’s team, however, says they expect to receive an additional $1.6 million when matching funds are next dispersed on Feb. 16, while Adams’ campaign believes that they’ll get $982,000 then. Wiley, meanwhile, had only $316,000 to spend, but her camp anticipates that she’ll get $2.2 million next month after the Campaign Finance Board officially rules that she’s qualified for the matching funds program.
Other candidates could also meet the requirements needed for public money, though they’ve all fallen short so far. Marine veteran Zach Iscol, who had $485,000 on-hand, was about $20,000 shy of qualifying. Nonprofit executive Dianne Morales had $128,000 in the bank, and she told the Times last week that she was $70,000 away from the $250,000 minimum.
A few more candidates are still hoping to hit the threshold needed for public financing even though they still have quite a ways to go. Former White House Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan held a $913,000 to $277,000 cash-on-hand lead over former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, but they were each about $100,000 away of what is required to unlock matching funds.
Additional candidates, including City Councilman Carlos Menchaca and former city veteran’s Commissioner Loree Sutton, each had little money and were well short of what they’d need to quality for the program. 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang, for his part, announced just before the reporting deadline, though the Times writes that he’s “expected to be competitive with other leading candidates in raising funds.”
● MD-Gov: A fundraising consultant for Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, whose name has come up frequently as a possible Democratic candidate for governor, recently mused to the Baltimore Sun that Alsobrooks’ $1 million campaign war-chest “certainly gives her the resources to do what she wants to do,” adding, “The possibilities are limitless.”
Meanwhile, former state Attorney General Doug Gansler claims that, despite bringing in $225,000 last year, he’s not actively fundraising for a gubernatorial campaign but suggested he is in fact thinking about the race. “For the few people who are looking toward next year,” said Gansler, “they know me and they see me as an experienced progressive who can win.”
Gansler’s almost right: Few people see him as someone who can win. The last time he ran for governor back in 2014, he badly lost the Democratic primary after a disastrous campaign capped off by an incident where he was photographed partying with drunken teenagers in Delaware and claimed he did not have the “moral authority” to stop anyone from consuming alcohol despite being the top law enforcement official in his state. If anyone’s eager to have him back, we’d be really curious to hear why.
● MI-Gov: U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider, who will soon step down from his post to join a private law firm, did not rule out a bid for governor or state attorney general in 2022 in new comments to Crain’s Detroit Business, but said, “My first priority right now is I need employment for my family.” Schneider, a Republican, was named to his current position by Donald Trump, but he blasted his one-time patron over Trump’s decision this week to pardon former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who had served only six years of a 28-year prison sentence for corruption.
● MN-Gov: Republican Rep. Pete Stauber declined to rule out a bid for governor in a new interview by means of an extremely awkward triple negative: “I will never say what I never will not do,” he didn’t not say. Fortunately, Stauber was clearer in his very next comment, in which he said, “I’m keeping all options open.”
● NC-05: Bo Hines, who played as a wide receiver at North Carolina State in 2014 before transferring to Yale, said Wednesday that he would seek the Republican nomination for very red 5th District. Hines did not mention nine-term Rep. Virginia Foxx, who has long been one of the most extreme members of the GOP caucus, in his announcement video, much less give a reason why primary voters in this Western Piedmont and Appalachian seat should fire her.
Hines may be hoping that Foxx, who at 77 is three times his age, will retire, but she doesn’t sound like she plans to go anywhere. Instead, the incumbent said she was “looking forward to running again in 2022 against anyone who may toss a hat in the ring.” It’s also possible, though, that the upcoming round of redistricting will forestall a clash between Foxx and Hines.
● NJ-03: Former Evesham Mayor Randy Brown, a Republican who is also a member of the coaching staff of the Baltimore Ravens, is once again not ruling out a bid against Democratic Rep. Andy Kim in this coastal South Jersey seat. Brown talked about running here in the 2014 and 2020 cycles and also mulled a 2017 gubernatorial bid, but he stayed out each time.
Brown, who calls himself a “proud Trump supporter,” did criticize the former White House occupant for having “incited many of his extreme followers to storm our Capitol,” but he’s been all too happy to parrot some of Trump’s biggest lies. Brown took umbrage with Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s successful push to institute mail-in voting, insisting, “As we are all aware NJ has been a hotbed for mail in ballot fraud.”
● Special Elections: There is a special election on tap for Saturday in Texas:
TX-HD-68: This is a large Republican district that stretches from areas north east of Dallas to the Texas Panhandle. This seat was vacated by former Rep. Drew Springer, who won a special election last year for a state Senate seat. There are four Republicans and one Democrat running and, as always with Texas special elections, all candidates compete on one ballot. If no candidate wins a majority of the vote, a runoff will occur on a date that has yet to be determined.
Cooke County Judge Jason Brinkley, financial planner John Berry, businessman Craig Carter, and attorney David Spiller are the Republican candidates, while retired postal worker Charles Gregory is the lone Democrat in contention. This is one of the most GOP-leaning districts in the state, having backed Donald Trump 83-14 in 2016 and Mitt Romney 81-18 in 2012.
This is the only vacancy in this chamber, which Republicans control 82-67.
● Pittsburgh, PA Mayor: State Rep. Ed Gainey announced this week that he’d challenge Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto in the May 18 Democratic primary, which is the contest that matters in this very blue city.
Gainey backed Peduto during his successful 2013 and 2017 campaigns, but he argued that the incumbent had failed to address the city’s economic, racial, and housing disparities during his tenure. Gainey, who would be the city’s first Black leader, also pitched himself as a more liberal candidate than Peduto.
● VA-LG: Campaign fundraising reports are out for the race to succeed Democratic Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who is giving up this post to run for governor, and Democratic candidates ended 2020 with a big financial edge over their Republican counterparts.
The stakes for this office, which is responsible for breaking deadlocks in the state Senate, are always high, and this year is no different. Democrats enjoy a narrow 21-19 majority in the upper chamber, and Team Blue would have no room for error on key votes if they lost the lieutenant governor’s key tie-breaking vote.
We’ll begin with the cash-on-hand numbers for the June Democratic primary contenders:
- Del. Sam Rasoul: $602,000
- Norfolk City Council member Andria McClellan: $220,000
- Del. Mark Levine: $206,000
- Fairfax County NAACP President Sean Perryman: $171,000
- Del. Elizabeth Guzman: $138,000
- Del. Hala Ayala: $108,000
- Businessman Xavier Warren: $20,000
- Former state party chair Paul Goldman: $2,000
The Republicans all had far less to spend:
- Businessman Puneet Ahluwalia: $41,000
- Businessman Lance Allen: $25,000
- Del. Glenn Davis: $18,000
- Former Del. Tim Hugo: Did not file
Note that the Republican nomination will be decided through a party convention rather than a traditional primary.
● VA-AG: Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring decided last year to seek a third term in 2021 rather than run for governor, but he’ll need to get past a well-funded June primary opponent. Del. Jay Jones entered the race before Herring made his plans clear and continued his campaign after the incumbent announced his re-election bid, and he ended December with $736,000 on-hand. Herring had a larger $1.1 million war chest, but Jones, who would be the first African American to hold this post, will at least have the funds needed to get his message out.
On the Republican side, Del. Jason Miyares had a wide $317,000 to $35,000 cash-on-hand lead over attorney Chuck Smith. The GOP nominee will be selected at a party convention rather than through a primary.