SUNSET PARK — Campaign contributions are pouring in from varied and sometimes unexpected sources into one of the upcoming Democratic primary's most contested City Council races.
Carlos Menchaca, the incumbent from the 38th District, which represents Sunset Park, Greenwood Heights and Red Hook, has surpassed his rivals with more than $97,000 in contributions from 758 donors, according to the city's Campaign Finance Board — 89 percent of which are small donors contributing anything from $1 to $175.
Along with those small dollars has come big endorsements including two members of Congress — Nydia Velazquez and Jerry Nadler — the Transportion Workers Union and the New York State Nurses Association.
Yet Menchaca isn't the only candidate with hefty endorsements. Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, who announced his candidacy relatively late in the race July 11, has the backing of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association and the United Federation of Teachers, and has nearly $76,000 in his campaign coffers.
Nearly a quarter of those funds come from donors in Queens, including $5,700 from employees of Flushing-based developer Ampiera. The real estate group owns a 18,000 square foot retail property in Sunset Park, according to Ampiera's website.
Officials at Ampiera could not be reached for comment Monday.
The owner of a Flushing-based architecture firm that has designed projects for Ampiera, My Architect PC, has also donated $1,000 to Ortiz's campaign.
After this article was originally published, Ortiz on Tuesday told DNAinfo New York that he chalked up the concentration of Queens donors to constituents who work in the district and live elsewhere.
Former Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez, who held the council seat prior to Menchaca, has so far raised $69,704, including two $3,000 loans from a Staten Island resident.
Former Assemblyman Javier Nieves raised $10,900 in campaign contributions, but confirmed to DNAinfo New York on Tuesday that he has dropped out of the race, leaving six candidates in the running. Nieves is still deliberating on which candidate he will endorse.
The remaining three challengers include Sunset Park real estate lawyer Delvis Valdes, who has raised $96,534 — $50,000 of which comes from loans to himself; attorney Chris Miao has raised $30,771 in donations; and Green Party candidate Carmen Hulbert holds a total of $6,408.
Locals can hear from the candidates at an Aug. 29 District 38 debate at 7 p.m. hosted by the Red Hook Star-Revue at the Pioneer Works art space.
The Democratic primary will be held on September 12.