Looking ahead to Vito Lopez’s ‘vigorous’ Council campaign

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Assemblyman Vito Lopez will resign his seat in the Assembly on Monday morning, and turn his attention to what he has promised will be a "vigorous" campaign for City Council.

How vigorous?

Lopez has more $27,000 in his campaign bank account, after raising more than $38,000 in the latest 2-month financial filing period. During that time, he spent more than $8,000 and is carrying more than $2,000 in "outstanding liabilities."

Of the $38,000 he raised, Lopez's campaign declared $20,000 as eligible for city matching funds, which could give him an additional $92,400, the maximum allowed under the city's program of publicly financing campaigns. (Lopez has become one of several candidates cited by opponents of a state matching-fund system as an unworthy recipient of taxpayer funding.)

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In the most recent filing period, $1,700 of Lopez's contributions came from employees of the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council, the non-profit organization he founded, which still serves as the locus of his support in the district; $5,450 from contributors who said they were self-employed; $5,710 from people who did not list an employer; $3,485 from people who said they are retired; $1,975 from housewives; and $725 from unemployed donors.

There is at least one person who received a salary from the Lopez campaign: Andy Marte, a former intern who has publicly defended the Assemblyman in the past.

In January, Lopez's Assembly campaign reported a balance of more than a million dollars, some of which could be transferred into his Council campaign, but only if the donations were raised in accordance with city rules. (Among other differences, the contribution limits for city races are capped much lower than state races.)

Lopez's most serious opponent, City Council aide Antonio Reynoso, reported just over $84,000 in his campaign account, according to the latest filing report.

In the two-month filing period that ended last week, Reynoso raised more than $45,000, and reported $27,790 as matchable donations, enough to get him an additional $92,400 in matchng funds.

Of the $45,000 he raised in this filing period, Reynoso received a little over $8,000 from people with no known employer; $5,885 from self-employed supporters; $95 from retirees and $5 from one person identified as a babysitter.

In this filing period, Reynoso spent just $374 and has an additional $76 in "outstanding liabilities."

According to DecideNYC.com, there are three other candidates in the race: Gladys Santiago, a former district leader who unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Diana Reyna in 2009. This year she has raised $1,240 and spent $1,000; Humberto Soto raised $4,480 but spent $2,000 of it already, and Tommy Torres, who has not reported any financial activity to the New York City Campaign Finance Board.

Those candidates could have an impact that's disproportionate to their fund-raising, if they divide the anti-Lopez electorate.

The longtime assemblyman is fond of reminding reporters that he won re-election in November with nearly 90 percent of the vote, despite the allegations of misconduct.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article failed to mention the cap on matching funds a City Council candidates can receive.