Is Money What Matters in Race for Borough President?

In Brooklyn and Queens, there are "haves" and "have-nots."

For the outer boroughs, it’s a tale of two races when it comes to the Borough President’s office, but both have a similar theme: what's green is gold. 

In Brooklyn, the race looked — at least for a little while — like a coronation. After Coney Island City Councilman Dominic Recchia decided to run for Congress, backing off his beep bid, state Sen. Eric Adams was the only one left vying for the job.

That all changed in mid-February, when attorney and former city councilman-at-large John Gangemi announced to the New York Post that he’s taking a crack at Marty Markowitz’s chair.

Gangemi, at 73, has largely been out of the public eye since he left the City Council in 1976. He served as a Republican at the time, but reportedly switched parties while in office.

The biggest challenge for the old political hand will be going up against Adams’ considerable fundraising advantage.

The state senator has raised more than $420,000 in his quest for the borough presidency, according to the Campaign Finance Board. Gangemi told the Post that he has yet to begin fundraising. 

That leaves Gangemi with precious few options, other than old-fashioned door-knocking, tough for anyone in a county with 2 million-plus doors. 

The election isn't for another eight months, but for Gangemi to win, he's going to have to pull a very wealthy rabbit out of a very fancy hat. 

Meanwhile, candidates have been crawling out of the woodwork for months in Queens, while fighting for money and attention in a crowded field that so far has been dominated by City Councilman Peter Vallone.

A poll released this week showed Vallone with the most name recognition, and the widest base of support.

He’s also, more importantly, got the deepest pockets by far.

Vallone has outraised Melida Katz, Tony Avella, Leroy Comrie, Jose Peralta and Barry Grodenchik. As of this week, Vallone has cleared $1 million, more than all of his potential opponents combined, according to the NYC Campaign Finance Board.

Vallone’s closest financial competition is former Forest Hills Councilwoman Melinda Katz, whose $230,000 mark is still less than a quarter of Vallone’s take.

With friends behind him like Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has notably attended Vallone fundraisers in the past, it's going to be hard for the borough's other candidates to find any oxygen to sustain a darkhorse campaign.


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