City Council showdown: Kagan not deterred by early fundraising deficit in race against Brannan

Brooklyn City Council Member Ari Kagan, who lately switched from the Democratic to Republican Celebration, has raised lower than $10,000 in his reelection bid thus far — a small fraction of the over $40,000 haul his Democratic colleague and competitor Justin Brannan has introduced in, in accordance with campaign finance filings reviewed by amNewYork Metro.

However Brannan, whom Kagan would in the end face in a November basic election had been he to win the June GOP major, has spent a large portion of his marketing campaign funds, that means he and Kagan have roughly the identical amount of money available.

Kagan has amassed simply $8,774 since final October, a few months earlier than he modified events, in his marketing campaign to signify the forty seventh Council District, which incorporates the southern Brooklyn neighborhoods of Coney Island and Bay Ridge. He at the moment has $8,682 available, after spending simply $92 on bills reminiscent of financial institution charges.

In the meantime, Brannan  — who chairs the highly effective Committee on Finance — has raked in $40,628 since final March, solely three months after taking his seat for his present time period. 

Nonetheless, he’s already used up $30,897 of what he raised and at the moment has $9,731 available. Brannan has spent a substantial chunk of his funds on routine marketing campaign bills, like $9,915 for the mixed expense of mailers and web site improvement work from the Southampton-based political consulting agency Power Play Strategies.

Kagan, in an interview with amNewYork Metro, mentioned his small fundraising numbers are the results of a busy vacation season and that he solely lately began to marketing campaign. He’s set to carry an official marketing campaign kickoff occasion — and birthday celebration for himself — on the Lights of Baku restaurant in Gravesend subsequent Thursday.

“There was Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years,” Kagan mentioned. “I’m having my official kickoff of my campaign, next Thursday. So, I basically fundraised for about a week. Most of my donations came in about like [the last] seven, eight days. I have just started fundraising. I will definitely raise much more. That’s not even a discussion.”

“I didn’t hire anybody for my campaign yet, I didn’t print any literature. Campaign just started, that’s all,” he added. “But it looks good. People are very enthusiastic.”

Most of Kagan’s 121 donations have come in for the reason that begin of the brand new 12 months, metropolis Marketing campaign Finance Board (CFB) filings present. Ninety of these contributions, Kagan mentioned, got here from donors dwelling in the district.

The council member mentioned that whereas he registered his marketing campaign committee early final fall, he was delayed in starting to fundraise due to the council redistricting process, which in the end mixed his district with Brannan’s and doubtlessly pitted the 2 against each other for the seat. His fundraising operation was additionally held up by altering his celebration registration, he mentioned.

Kagan’s choice to depart the Democratic Celebration got here shortly after the brand new district maps had been finalized. He says his choice to vary events was unrelated to the district modifications however because of rising ideological variations between himself and the Democrats over points reminiscent of crime.

When requested about Kagan’s fundraising by amNewYork Metro, Brannan mentioned he’s assured each candidate will have the funds for to run given the town’s beneficiant matching funds program, however his file as a lawmaker will set him aside.

“With the city’s generous matching funds program, I’m sure all of my opponents will have the resources they need to run,” he mentioned in a textual content message. “Unfortunately for them, they won’t have my record of responsiveness and results. That part can’t be bought.”

Michael Ragusa — one in every of Kagan’s opponents in the Republican major and a former FDNY medical technician — has greater than doubled Kagan’s haul, bringing in $19,375 in contributions to his marketing campaign since final July. Ragusa, nevertheless, at the moment solely has $1,044 in his coffers, having shelled out $18,331 of what he’s raised.

However Kagan mentioned he’s already certified for receiving matching funds, having met this system’s two-part threshold of elevating $5,000 from 75 particular person in-district donors; so he isn’t involved about Ragusa’s fundraising lead. Plus, he believes he’ll qualify for a full match from the CFB.

When it comes right down to it, Kagan mentioned, his many years of labor in the group will propel his marketing campaign ahead.

“I have been serving communities of southern Brooklyn for over 30 years in different capacities,” Kagan mentioned. “But I help people all the time, and people remember this. That’s the thing that will bring me to the finish line everywhere.”

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