News & Politics

Public defender Eli Northrup raises $102,000 in Assembly race

Northrup’s campaign also qualified for $88,000 in matching funds from the state.

Eli Northrup's Assembly campaign has raised $102,000 so far.

Eli Northrup's Assembly campaign has raised $102,000 so far. Srob Oberman-Breindel

Assembly candidate Eli Northrup will report on Friday that his campaign has raised $102,000 since launching in November. The public defender has now received enough small donations from in-district donors to qualify for the state’s matching funds program. As a result, his campaign expects to receive $88,000 in matching funds in May.

Northrup is one of four candidates running for the Democratic nomination in Assembly District 69, which has been represented by Assembly Member Danny O’Donnell for 20 years. When O’Donnell announced last year that he would not run for reelection, it set off a mad scramble for the Upper West Side seat.

The furthest left candidate in the race, Northrup received endorsements from progressive stalwart the Working Families Party, youth climate justice group Sunrise Movement NYC and Assembly Members Amanda Septimo, Anna Kelles and Latrice Walker.

Northrup, who currently serves as policy director for the Bronx Defenders’ criminal defense practice, has been deeply involved in policy fights over criminal justice issues but has never before run for office or worked for a politician. “What I really think will decide the race is whether voters want someone who has spent their career in politics or whether they value a different kind of experience,” Northrup told City & State in a text message. “It’s a choice between the status quo and meaningful change.”

The establishment favorite in the primary is Micah Lasher, the former policy director for Gov. Kathy Hochul. Since launching his campaign in January, he has racked up endorsements from influential Upper West Side politicians – including Rep. Jerry Nadler, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine and former city Comptroller Scott Stringer – and amassed a sizable campaign war chest. His campaign announced in a press release that it has raised $230,000 since January and expects to receive $175,000 in matching funds, the maximum possible amount.

In order to qualify for matching funds, an Assembly candidate must receive at least $6,000 in small donations ($250 and under) from at least 75 donors who live in the district. The remaining two candidates in the race – real estate lobbyist Melissa Rosenberg and NYCHA resident association president Carmen Quinones – have not yet raised enough money to qualify for matching funds. Rosenberg reported raising about $40,000 since launching her campaign in December, while Quinones only reported raising $1,552 since launching her campaign last month.

A fifth candidate, former community board chair Barry Weinberg, dropped out of the race last month. Weinberg told City & State that he currently has no plans to endorse in the race, since none of the other candidates have asked for his endorsement.

Assembly District 69 runs from the Upper West Side north to Morningside Heights, the neighborhood home to Columbia University. It is a very heavily Democratic district; whoever wins the Democratic primary is virtually guaranteed to win the general election. Confusingly, the Republican Party chose Quinones – a candidate in the Democratic primary – as its nominee, though Quinones said she rejected the Republican nomination.