Embattled AM Juan Ardila reports raising $20k less than primary opponent

The New York Assembly member was accused of sexual misconduct earlier this year, and is resisting calls to resign. His opponent Émilia Decaudin raised more than $22,000.

Assembly Member Juan Ardila took office in January.

Assembly Member Juan Ardila took office in January. Friends of Juan

Several months after being accused of sexual assault, and amid ongoing calls for his resignation, Democratic Assembly Member Juan Ardila has reported raising only $2,000 in the past six months, even as his recently announced primary opponent Émilia Decaudin has raised over $22,000 in a few weeks.

According to Ardila’s campaign disclosure, filed a few days late on Wednesday, only one person donated to the embattled Assembly member. An Ozone Park resident donated $2,000 in February, before the allegations against Ardila first came to light. Ardila did not immediately return a request for comment about his fundraising numbers.

Decaudin, who formally announced her run on July 11, has so far raised over $22,000 between the dates of July 3 and July 13 from a total of 274 donors, according to her campaign. "It's not surprising to me that (Ardila has) raised exactly $0 since the allegations against him and his failure to properly address them,” Decaudin told City & State. “On the flipside, our campaign raised a staggering $22,000 in our first filing… It's clear where the momentum is and is not in this district, and I'm excited to make the case for new representation to the community."

In March, the Queens Chronicle reported that two women accused Ardila of making unwanted sexual advances on the same night in 2015 at a Fordham University student’s party. Ardila initially apologized, releasing a statement that said, “I want the public to know that I am deeply apologetic for my past behavior and acknowledge that my actions have caused great harm.” However, Ardila has since backtracked, releasing a self-funded investigation into the incidents and denying they were nonconsensual. He has resisted multiple calls from fellow lawmakers and constituents to resign. 

Ardila ran as a progressive and took office in January after running on the Democratic and Working Families Party lines. (The WFP has called on him to resign.) His term ends at the end of 2024. Although he pays for the Democratic fundraising service ActBlue, according to his filing, Ardila does not appear to have a current campaign presence online – a link to his website still in his Twitter bio is broken. 

The first six months of a new election cycle tend to be a slower fundraising time in general, and Ardila’s fundraising numbers are not the lowest – fellow progressive Assembly Member Marcela Mitaynes, for example, raised less than $1,000. But she is not facing a primary challenge like Ardila, and such low totals remain an outlier even among other progressives and newer members.

By comparison, Democratic Assembly Member Jonathan Jacobson, who faces a primary challenge from trans activist Shéár Avory, raised over $18,000 in the same filing period. Democratic Assembly Member Didi Barrett, who also faces a primary challenge, raised over $20,000. And fellow freshman Assembly Member Alex Bores raised over $24,000, and progressive Assembly Member Anna Kelles raised nearly $13,000.