CFB Issues First Public Funds Payments of the 2019 Public Advocate Special Election


The New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) has approved the first public funds payments to candidates in the 2019 Public Advocate Special Election. The CFB approved payments totaling $1,980,963 for three candidates. After a review of campaign contributions, candidates Michael BlakeDawn Smalls, and Jumaane Williams were each determined to have qualified for $8-to-$1 matching funds.

Based on the CFB's evaluation, the Board paid the following amounts to each candidate:

  • Blake received $716,133 in matching funds
  • Smalls received $574,636 in matching funds
  • Williams received $690,194 in matching funds

The CFB withholds 5% of the public funds candidates are eligible to receive, which will be distributed in the final payment during the week prior to the election on February 26.

This is the first public funds payment under the improved system adopted by voters in November and applied to the Public Advocate Special Election by the City Council. Under the new limits, New York City’s matching funds program provides public funds to qualifying candidates at a rate of $8-to-$1 for the first $250 contributed by city residents for a maximum public funds payment of $2,000 per contributor in a citywide election. Special Election candidates have the choice between participating under the new program or the old program, which matches contributions by $6-to-$1 for the first $175 per contributor.

"Public matching funds are an important investment in the political process that have defined city elections for over 30 years," said Amy Loprest, Executive Director of the CFB. "The program encourages candidates to raise small-dollar contributions in their neighborhoods, limits the influence of large contributions from special interests, and ensures that candidates represent the diverse interests and needs of everyday New Yorkers when they are elected into office."

There will be two more payment dates for the special election – next week and following the February 15 campaign finance disclosure deadline.