A flurry of fundraising emails were sent today by New York City elected officials and candidates as the filing deadline for campaign finance disclosure statements approaches. With the fundraising period ending tomorrow and the statements due on January 15th, messages were sent out to supporters of various candidates encouraging last minute donations, with some candidates using language that strayed from the usual generic attempts at persuasion.
City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito sent an email on behalf of Council candidate Ede Fox, who’s running for outgoing Councilwoman Letitia James’ seat in the 35th District. Mark-Viverito hardly made an inspiring case, saying that the city needs women like Fox in city government “who will get things done for our families and our communities.” State Sen. Bill Perkins’ fundraising message for Councilman Robert Jackson’s bid for Manhattan Borough President, asserted that Jackson “has taken on tough fights and gotten results,” without specifying the battles that Jackson won in his three terms as Councilman. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s wife Chirlane McCray authored his fundraising email, continuing her active role in his mayoral campaign.
But perhaps the most curious message was sent by City Council candidate Matthew Silverstein, who invokes the memory of his mother, who passed away recently. Silverstein, a Democratic State Committeeman for the 26th Assembly District, writes that his mother’s wish was for him to follow through on his plans to run for Council, with the sentence after declaring in all caps “I NEED YOUR HELP!”
Silverstein’s email instantly raised eyebrows in political circles.
“I’ve seen candidates invoke birthdays, anniversaries, and new births when fundraising. That’s all fine. But raising money off the death of your mother is the definition of desperate. It’s bottom-feeding politics at its worst,” said a source who was forwarded the email.
A spokesman for Silverstein denied any ulterior motive behind mentioning his mother’s passing, and that the email was nothing more than a campaign reminder.
“Matthew Silverstein would never in any way exploit his mother’s death for political gain and the reason for the letter was to let people know, who had inquired, that he will be continuing his campaign in running for City Council.”