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Council Candidate Balks at Campaign Finance Questions From 'Pretty Girl'

By DNAinfo Staff on January 22, 2013 1:52pm

UPPER EAST SIDE — A host of new candidates are entering the City Council race for Jessica Lappin's soon-to-be-vacated District 5 seat — but at least one of them doesn't like to talk to the ladies about his finances.

Ed Hartzog, a Community Board 8 member who once worked for Anthony Weiner's campaign, has not widely publicized his candidacy, but he has raised nearly $8,000 since throwing his hat into the ring about a month ago, according to documents listed on the New York City Campaign Finance Board website. About half the donations have come from out of state, the documents show.

When a DNAinfo.com New York reporter asked about the campaign finance documents recently, Hartzog replied, "What's a pretty girl like you doing reading those?"

Asked about his comments later, he added, "I hope for goodness sake that my flippant comment isn't going to be part of the story. I was just sort of being something. I hope you didn't take offense by that. I didn't mean to be offensive."

Hartzog, 50, has raised $7,953 so far for the local Upper East Side race, which puts him in the middle of the pack of what the other candidates for the seat have raised, documents show. At least 10 of Hartzog's 21 donors live outside New York State.

When pressed about this, Hartzog said: "When you run for office, the first people [are from] the friends-and-family list," who are not necessarily from the city.

"Once we have a chance to do a full filing period to do fundraising, I think that'll be different," Hartzog continued. "I think you'll see a lot of community support."

Hartzog said he grew interested in politics because his father, George B. Hartzog Jr., served as director of the National Park Service from January 1964 to December 1972.

"I watched him, and those politicians from that era, do a lot of great things at that time, and I saw them getting a lot of things done," he said. "Even though I was very small, I was old enough to appreciate it and find it very exciting."

Hartzog has made a name for himself on CB8 as a proponent of smart development, calling on area medical institutions to be better neighbors by creating more open space.

He has been involved in local politics — including a two-month stint as a field coordinator for former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner's campaign — and has also served as an officer of the New Democratic Majority.

And he founded and serves as the executive director of Kids Voting New York City, an educational organization that fosters youth civic engagement.

Stalwart political consultant Hank Sheinkopf — a top Democratic strategist known as "The Terminator" — confirmed that he's in discussions with Hartzog to work on the campaign.

Hartzog approached Sheinkopf shortly after Dec. 17, 2012 — when the Upper East Side resident registered to run for office — and they have communicated about working together since, they said.

"We've been having a good time together," Sheinkopf said, "and it might lead to a more permanent engagement."

Hartzog added, "I would feel very fortunate to have someone of his stature and experience on both the national and local level work on my campaign."

Other candidates' war chests range from full to nil.

Benjamin Kallos leads the pack with $43,283 in donations since declaring his candidacy on Jan. 24, 2012, documents show.

Money-wise, Kallos directly trailed by Domenico Minerva, who has raised $27, 213.

Hill Krishnan has collected $2,565.

Assemblyman Micah Kellner — who announced his candidacy last week — has not yet listed contributions, record shows.