By Chris Fuchs
City Councilwoman Julia Harrison, the Democrat incumbent who has represented Flushing since 1986, made contributions of $100 to three of the 10 candidates running for her seat, recent campaign finance filings show.
Martha Flores-Vazquez, Terence Park and Richard Jannaccio, all Democrats, each received $100 from Harrison, according to the city’s Campaign Finance Board. The councilwoman, who has not publicly endorsed any candidate, did not return telephone messages seeking comment about the contributions.
But Flores-Vazquez and Park said she may have made the contributions because they belong to the Flushing Democratic Club, to which the councilwoman belongs.
According to filings with the Campaign Finance Board through July 16, John Liu, who has been endorsed by the Queens Democratic Party, had raised more money than any other council candidate in the city. A 34-year-old consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers, Liu had $136,055 in his campaign war chest, an amount that with matching funds amounts to more than $210,000, the records show.
Records with the city’s Board of Elections also showed that the seven Democrat candidates had challenges made against signatures on their petitions, which are required for securing a line on the primary ballot.
All 10 candidates running for the Flushing council seat, which Harrison must leave this year because of term limits, took in contributions that were eligible for matching funds. For every dollar a candidate receives from a city resident, the Campaign Finance Board contributes $4 A $250 donation, therefore, would be matched with $1,000 from the city, bringing that total contribution to $1,250. The ceiling on matching funds for the primary election is $75,350.
The most recent filings show Ethel Chen, a Democrat, had raised $144,980 with matching funds; Terence Park, a Democrat, $98,953; Flores-Vazquez, a Democrat, $57,524; Adrian Joyce, a Democrat, $51,695; Richard Jannaccio, a Democrat, $38,110; Paul Graziano, a Green Party candidate, $33,085; Linda Mandell, a Democrat, $23,284; Ryan Walsh, a Republican, $6,225; and Evergreen Chou, a Green Party candidate, $5,591.
In the Flushing council race, the three Asian-American candidates who are Democrats have drawn much of their financial support from members of the Asian community. The fourth Asian American, Evergreen Chou, had less than a dozen Asian-American contributors among the 64 who donated to him, while the remaining six candidates received more of their contributions from non-Asians, the filings show. The donations ranged from as little as $10 to as much as $1,000.
“Everybody is reaching out to their own support base,” said Joyce, a former chairman of Community Board 7 in Flushing. A real-estate property manager for Muss Development, which is developing a mixed-use facility in downtown Flushing, Joyce received contributions from 12 of its employees, the filings show. He said most of his donations came from family and friends, including some members of Community Board 7.
Park, who has been endorsed by Council speaker Peter Vallone (D-Astoria), a mayoral candidate, said it stands to reason that so-called ethnic candidates derive much of their support from their own demographic. Most of Park’s 198 contributions, in fact, are from fellow Korean Americans.
Chen also received a total of 198 contributions, much of which came from Asian Americans in Queens. Chen did not return phone calls seeking comment. The filings show that Liu, who received 539 contributions, has drawn large support from non-Asians as well as Asian Americans.
Chen, Flores-Vazquez and Liu each received a $50 contribution from Councilwoman Helen Marshall (D-East Elmhurst), who is a Queens borough president candidate, the finance records show. In addition, Liu received $250 from state Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin (D-Flushing), who along with U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) endorsed him back in May, according to the finance board.
The city Board of Elections was expected to reach a decision this week on challenges made against candidates.
Barbara Baruch, a contributor to Liu’s campaign, filed challenges against Liu’s six Democrat opponents, Board of Election records show. Evan Stavisky, a spokesman for Liu, said she is being represented at Board of Elections hearings this week by Frank Bolz, an attorney who is the law chairman for the Queens County Democratic Party. He could not say, however, why she was the one who made the challenges.
To get on the primary ballot, council candidates need at least 900 valid signatures of registered voters in their district. Anyone can challenge signatures on the basis of 35 different reasons, ranging from an illegible address to an omitted date.
In addition to Baurch, Jannaccio made challenges against Liu’s and Park’s petitions; Mandell against Park’s, Chen’s and Liu’s, petitions; and Teresa Young against Liu’s, the records show. Finance filings show that Young was a contributor to Chen’s campaign. Chen could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Reach reporter Chris Fuchs by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 156.