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Candidates for Spigner’s seat pull in $$

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Two of the candidates running for the City Council seat held by Deputy Majority Leader Archie Spigner (D-St. Albans) have raised more than $20,000 for their campaigns and spent thousands of dollars, according to the candidates and the city Campaign Finance Board.

City council candidates are limited to $137,000 in donations for the primary election and $137,000 for the general election. The most recent filing deadline was July 16.

The candidate are vying for the Council District 27 seat, which covers Jamaica, St. Albans, Hollis, Cambria Heights, Baisley Park, Addisleigh Park, Locust Manor, parts of Queens Village, Springfield Gardens and Rosedale.

There was a technical problem with Democratic candidate Leroy Comrie’s most recent financial report, so updated information on his campaign funds was not available from the board. But he said he has raised about $40,000 thus far.

Financial date he submitted the board in an earlier filing included contributions from local politicians and candidates for other southeast Queens races.

“I am very heartened and encouraged by their support,” he said. “I know local elected officials have had more than anyone else the opportunity to work with me and know I can ably be the next city council member.”

The board matches donations from residents of the city 4-to-1 up to $250 per donation, with a maximum total of $75,350. A $250 donation is equal to a donation of $1,250 to a candidate’s campaign.

In the latest round of filings, Democrat Helen Cooper-Gregory reported she has received $22,598 in donations, $17,425 of which were matched for $69,700. She spent $15,537, leaving her with $56,461.

Average donations to her campaign were about $50 with a total of 348 donations, including some individuals who contributed more than once.

“I reached out to people I have had contact with in the past, from my club, United for Progress (Democratic Club), from my legal practice and from church members,” Cooper-Gregory said.

She spent much of her money on a consultant, two fund-raisers, promotional materials, mail services and office supplies.

Democrat Cynthia Jenkins had received $7,777 in donations by the July 16 filing and got an additional $1,465 matched to $5,860. She spent $575, leaving her with $13,062.

She received 55 donations, mostly of $25 or more, and many of them from members of the Social Concern Committee of Springfield Gardens, where she is the chairwoman.

She spent money on printing services, office supplies, parking, and a bus trip.

There was also a technical mixup with Democrat Earl Simons’ campaign filings, so the board does not have records of any donations to him. He said he has received donations from more than 50 residents of the Jamaica area.

“Most of my support came from local community residents,” Simons said. “We’re going to be a real competitor in this race.”

Democrat Larry Smith had raised $1,270 by July 16 and has raised additional funds since then, he said.

“I was focused more on the petitions and I am just now starting in on fund-raising,” Smith said. He has received eight donations averaging about $125 each, all of which have been matched, for a total of $6,350.

He spent $8,997, made possible by a $17,000 loan, according to the Campaign Finance Board. The board’s records show most of his expenses were related to postage, photo and office supplies. He is also employing a campaign consultant.

Republican Ishmael Morgan reported $4,196 in contributions, $3,690 of which was matched, giving him $18,956. He spent $4,033, leaving him with $14,923.

Morgan, the only Republican in the race, received 75 contributions, ranging from $10 to $120. He spent money on caterers, fliers, stationary and other office supplies.

“The fact that I don’t have a primary means I don’t need that much money to spend until the general election,” Morgan said.

Several of the candidates in Council District 27 are not participating in the matching funds program and if they choose to exceed the $137,000 cap, then their competitors will be eligible for matching funds at a rate of 5-to-1 instead of 4-to-1 with a maximum total of $91,333.

Democrat Stephen Jackson is using his own money to pay for campaign expenses and is not participating in the matching funds program.

Saundra Pope, also a Democrat, did not participate in the matching funds program, but plans to hold a fund-raiser and honor local veterans.

“I do things not like everybody else,” she said. “This campaign in not about me, but other people.”

Democrats Erica Ford and Geraldine Morgan did not sign up for the matching funds program and could not be reached for comment by press time.

Reach reporter Betsy Scheinbart by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300 Ext. 138.

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