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Corey Johnson Raises More Cash Than Yetta Kurland in West Side Council Race

By Mathew Katz | July 18, 2013 8:42am | Updated on July 22, 2013 10:48am
  Johnson had a financial edge in the final months of the campaign.
Kurland and Johnson Release New Campaign Finance Numbers
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CHELSEA — The race for City Council Speaker Christine Quinn's District 3 seat is down to just two candidates — and one has received substantially more cash.

While both have the same amount of money to spend in the upcoming Democratic primary — $168,000 — because of the city's public financing system, Community Board 4 chairman Corey Johnson received substantially more contributions, which will give him a head start if he moves on to the general election.

His opponent, Yetta Kurland, has raised less cash — but has received donations from more people.

In all, Johnson's received $184,704 from 611 donors, while his opponent Yetta Kurland has raised $137,581 from 638 donors, according to Campaign Finance Board records filed July 15.

Johnson has $65,916.99 left in his war chest, records show — more than double his opponent Yetta Kurland's $25,228.21. 

Johnson, 31, said his campaign's financial health leading up to the Sept. 10 primary was representative of his overall support on the West Side.

"It's a sign of our momentum and grassroots support," he wrote in an email, adding that he has been endorsed by local politicians including Congressman Jerry Nadler and former State Senator Tom Duane.

"With 55 days to go until the primary — our progressive platform is resonating with voters on the West Side."

Kurland, a civil rights attorney, said Johnson has accepted thousands of dollars from people who work in real estate.

"In contrast, our campaign has not only received more individual contributions, although smaller in amount, from voters," she wrote in an email.

"But at the end of the day it is not about money or endorsements, it is about who the community wants to represent them," she added.  

The primary will determine the Democratic nominee for the seat, and on the heavily left-leaning West Side, the winner of the primary is all but guaranteed to win in the general election.

A third contender, Villager Alex Meadows, dropped out of the race and endorsed Johnson earlier this month.

Both campaigns spent nearly the same amount during the most recent fundraising period, from January to July: Johnson spent $65,916 and Kurland doled out $68,494.

The pair have both received heavy financial support from unions, whose endorsements came with hefty donations.

Johnson received thousands of dollars from the United Federation of Teachers, SEIU 32BJ and the Soft Drink Brewery Workers PAC, for a total of $13,200 from unions.

Kurland, on the other hand, took in $6,625 from Communications Workers of America Local 1180, Local 299 AFSCME and the Amalgamated Transit Union.

Johnson has stayed ahead of Kurland in the fundraising race throughout most of the campaign — he hit the fundraising max for the primary's $168,000 spending limit in July 2012, while Kurland hit the same cap in January.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story said that Johnson had a financial advantage over Kurland in the upcoming Democratic primary, but because both candidates are participating in the city's public financing system, they have the same amount to spend.