New York City

Who has the most cash already to run for public advocate?

A look at the campaign finances on hand for the New York City Public Advocate race.


public-advocates Photo illustration by Alex Law; Photos by Shutterstock; John McCarten, William Alatriste/New York City Council; a katz/Shutterstock

A number of contenders have launched campaigns to become New York City’s next public advocate, but most don’t yet have the funds to match their ambition. But some candidates have money from previous city campaigns, which the New York City Campaign Finance Board allows them to fully utilize in the special election to replace Letitia James.

The state allows larger individual donations than the city, so state legislators and past candidates for state legislative seats can only transfer funds within the city’s special election campaign contribution limit of $2,550 per donor – and not from a corporation or a limited liability corporation. Funds that qualify can be transferred on a “last into the state BOE, first into the CFB” basis – meaning the most recent donations under the $2,550 threshold are eligible.

Here’s how much the leading candidates have on hand.

Former New York City council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito

Funds: $389,794

Melissa Mark-Viverito
William Alatriste for the City Council

Mark-Viverito is the early leader in campaign cash. She clearly was preparing for a potential future citywide race, having raised a large sum of money by the end of last year.

New York City Councilman Rafael Espinal Jr.

Funds: $68,224

Rafael Espinal Jr.
Emil Cohen

Espinal has the second-highest amount of the current candidates.

New York City Councilman Eric Ulrich

Funds: $19,748

Eric Ulrich
Emil Cohen

Ulrich could end up being the only high-profile Republican in the race. He has more on hand than several Democratic colleagues in the City Council.

Activist Tony Herbert

Funds: $7,316

Herbert, a Brooklyn-based community activist, has $7,316 that he didn’t use during his unsuccessful run for public advocate in 2017.

Columbia University Professor David Eisenbach

Funds: $3,045

Like Herbert, Eisenbach, who is a Columbia University professor, also ran unsuccessfully for public advocate in 2017. The money from that race sets him up to start with $3,045 this time around.

New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez

Funds: $16,365

William Alatriste for the New York City Council

The Upper Manhattan lawmaker had $5,088 left over from his last run for re-election, as well as $11,277 in another 2021 campaign account.

New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams

Funds: $4,442

Jumaane Williams
John McCarten

Williams won local support in his failed campaign for lieutenant governor, but he only has $3,130 left over. He has another $1,312 from his 2017 City Council campaign.

Assemblyman Ron Kim

Funds: $41,674

Ron Kim

The Queens lawmaker reported more than $40,000 after easily winning re-election, some of which he can transfer toward his public advocate campaign.

Assemblyman Michael Blake

Funds: $22,128

Michael Blake
a katz/Shutterstock

Blake kept his Bronx seat without much contest. He still has $22,128 left over from that campaign, some of which he can transfer.

Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell

Funds: $14,636

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Like Blake, O’Donnell also didn’t face much of a challenge when it came to keeping his Upper West Side seat, but he has $14,636, some of which he can transfer.

Assemblywoman Latrice Walker

Funds: $30,139

Latrice Walker
Photo courtesy office of Latrice Walker

Walker hasn’t kept up to date with her state filings, but according to her most recent report, the Brooklyn assemblywoman has $30,139, some portion of which she can transfer.

The remaining candidates – attorneys Dawn Smalls and Ifeoma Ike, progressive activist Nomiki Konst, entrepreneur Theo Chino, Manhattan Democratic Party Secretary Benjamin Yee and New York City Department of Transportation Analyst Michael Zumbluskas – do not have any campaign cash, according to the New York City Campaign Finance Board’s most recent summary.