SUNSET PARK — Still in his first term representing Sunset Park, Red Hook and Windsor Terrace, City Councilman Carlos Menchaca is facing a crowded field of six rivals including the councilwoman he unseated and the state assemblyman representing the same area.
Ex-Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez — maligned by her detractors as "No Show" Gonzalez for her poor attendance record and her inaction during her time in office — raised more than $16,600 in the latest campaign filing period and has amassed roughly $62,500 in total, according to new Campaign Finance Board data.
Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, who just threw his hat into the race July 11, garnered more than $65,000 in contributions for his campaign.
Menchaca raised only $5,569 during the most recent quarter — from May 11 to July 12 — but ultimately leads the pack with just over $89,000 in his war chest.
The other challengers in the race are relative unknown Chris Miao who raised $13,756 in campaign contributions in the past three months; lawyer and Sunset Park activist Delvis Valdes raised $5,748; former Assemblyman Javier Nieves reported $2,805; and Green Party candidate Carmen Hulbert reported $759.
Menchaca says he looks forward to debating the issues and defending his record in the 38th District.
“Look, I welcome the democratic process that allows for challengers," said Menchaca, who says he has centered his attention on school overcrowding, immigration, and transportation issues in the district. “My bold, vocal leadership has changed how we as a community engage with city agencies. I will hold my record against anyone. We’re shifting from the past that brought no results.”
Menchaca has taken heat from some who feel he has shifted his focus from the district to citywide and national issues, said one constituent.
"To me, Carlos has been just as invisible in the district as Sara Gonzalez was," said Tony Giordano, a Sunset Park community activist. "Now that it's election season you see him everywhere."
But Menchaca maintains there is a local angle at the core of his actions.
"So many of the issues that I focus on are directly rooted in the lives of the people who live in my district and I will continue to do that work," said Menchaca, who has been vocal against the president and was arrested during a protest outside of Trump Tower. "We need to understand that what is happening in Washington right now is having a direct impact here. Everything I’m doing has an impact locally."
Neither Gonzalez nor Ortiz returned calls seeking comment for this story.