New York City Council Member Ari Kagan, the Democrat turned Republican, netted over $10,000 more in campaign donations than opponent New York City Council Member Justin Brannan during the most recent campaign finance reporting period. After redistricting, the former fellow Democrats and current colleagues are going head to head in the newly formed District 47 in November, and it’s expected to be a close race.
Throughout July 14 to August 21, Kagan amassed $16,884 to Brannan’s $5,965 in their fight to represent southern Brooklyn neighborhoods including Bay Ridge and Coney Island, according to the latest campaign finance report filed on Aug. 25. Technically Brannan took in $7,515 during the period, but he ended up returning $1,550. Brannan also said he has almost raised enough to hit the general election spending limit of $207,000.
While Brannan – chair of the council’s powerful Committee on Finance and current representative of District 43 – has brought in more than Kagan overall with about $317,685 raised and $168,217 cash on hand including matching funds, the last few weeks marked the most the newly minted Republican raked in during any one period of his campaign. Kagan, who currently represents Coney Island and Gravesend, has raised $244,922 and has $27,515 cash on hand. Both candidates have qualified for the city’s public matching funds program. Brannan has raised more than twice as much as Kagan in private funds.
The sizable gulf between the two candidates’ cash on hand can be attributed at least in part to the fact that Brannan ran unopposed in the District 47 Democratic primary, while Kagan faced several Republicans in the June primary. He ultimately defeated them with about 75% of the vote.
“I have growing support in the district and I’m glad that I’m having support from all parts of the district, all neighborhoods,” Kagan said, adding that, “after primaries I had to start from the beginning, and that’s why I’m very happy.”
The candidates are set to face off this November in what’s expected to be a competitive race. The new District 47 still has a Democratic enrollment advantage over Republicans, but Kagan hopes to capitalize on growing GOP energy among its constituents, which includes increasingly right-leaning Asian American and Russian-speaking and Jewish communities. The new District 47 also went for Republican Curtis Sliwa during the 2021 mayoral race. Still, Brannan has won close elections in both 2017 and 2021 even when the district voted for the Republican candidates for mayor, and he still has a strong base there.
The next campaign finance deadline is October 6, after which candidates will be required to file daily Oct. 23 up until Nov. 6 – a day before the general election.