CFB Issues Second Public Funds Payment of the 2019 Public Advocate Special Election


The New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) issued public matching funds payments totaling $2,118,109 to seven candidates in the 2019 Public Advocate Special Election. Including payments issued last monththe CFB has provided a total of $4,099,072 in public funds to seven candidates for the February 26 special election.

The Board approved the following payments:

Candidate Feb. 8 Payment Total Received
(to date)
Michael Blake $24,358 $740,491
Rafael Espinal Jr. $461,547 $461,547
Ronald Kim $537,789 $537,789
Daniel O'Donnell $491,151 $491,151
Dawn Smalls $41,838 $616,474
Eric Ulrich $476,026 $476,026
Jumaane Williams $85,400 $775,594

This is the first election cycle under the improved matching funds program adopted by voters in November 2018 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 matching rate of $8-to-$1 for the first $250 contributed by city residents. Each contribution from New York City residents is eligible for a maximum matching payment of $2,000. Candidates in the special election may choose to participate in the new program or in the old program, which matches contributions by $6-to-$1 for the first $175 per contributor.

To qualify for public matching funds, candidates must receive a minimum of 500 contributions from New York City residents, amounting to at least $62,500. Only the match-eligible portion of a contribution may count towards the threshold. Candidates must comply with all program rules, including the prohibition on contributions from corporations, limited liability companies, and partnerships, to be eligible for public funds.

The CFB's Candidate Guidance and Policy staff offers extensive support to campaigns, providing access to training, resources, and one-on-one guidance to help them navigate their disclosure requirements and compliance obligations.

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. More information about the candidates' campaign finance data is available on the CFB website in the Campaign Finance Summary portal. Individual contribution data is available in the Follow the Money database.

A final public funds payment date for the special election will follow the February 15 campaign finance disclosure deadline. This deadline will also determine which candidates qualify for the "leading contenders" debate on February 20.

In order to qualify for the "leading contenders" debate, candidates must have raised and spent $170,813 (3.75% of the expenditure limit) as reflected in their campaign finance disclosure statements filed on February 15. In addition to the financial threshold, candidates must receive an endorsement from a City, State, or federal elected official who represents all or a portion of New York City, or have received an endorsement from one or more membership organizations with over 250 members residing in New York City.