Shafran raises $59K in CD 19 race

Austin Shafran (clockwise from bottom r.) leads his Democratic primary opponents, including Matthew Silverstein, Paul Vallone, John Duane and Paul Graziano, in the race to see who will challenge Republican City Councilman Dan Halloran in November.
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Democrats hoping to challenge City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) in November filed their March financial contributions with the city Campaign Finance Board, showing Austin Shafran in the lead with former state Assemblyman John Duane and attorney Paul Vallone not far behind.

According to the board, Shafran reported the most money raised by the March 11 filing with $58,902. Duane raised $44,420 and Vallone had donations of $39,305, putting them close on Shafran’s tail. Duane, however, kicked off his fund-raising with a self-funded $8,250 contribution, the board records showed.

Bay Terrace native and Democratic State Committeeman Matthew Silverstein and Flushing activist Paul Graziano were the only two Democrats yet to break $10,000, the CFB said, with Silverstein reporting $9,357 and Graziano raising $8,760 so far.

Halloran’s latest filing showed the incumbent with $40,790 in his coffers, with his largest contribution of $2,500 coming from the camp of supporter and former state Sen. Frank Padavan.

Shafran’s campaign was making noise on the heels of the March filing deadline with reports that the Bayside native had raised nearly $60,000 from 330 donors in about two months’ time.

“The support we have received from hundreds of working families, neighborhood businesses and members of the labor community shows that people who love their city can come together to change it for the better,” Shafran said. “This is a strong first step toward the community-driven approach we are building to deliver the better schools, safer streets and stronger economy that middle-class families deserve.”

Notable contributions in Shafran’s campaign finance filings included the maximum amount of $2,750 from Friends of Martha Taylor, a Democratic district leader in the 24th Assembly District and vice chairwoman of Community Board 8 — his largest donation to date.

He has also received support from different labor unions, including Teamsters Joint Council 16, 32BJ SEIU and UFCW Local 1500.

But as the Shafran campaign celebrated reaching the maximum threshold in public matching funds, Halloran contended that his potential opponent had raised most of his money from donors outside the northeast Queens 19th Council District. Records showed Shafran received campaign contributions from a total of 73 donors inside the district — two less than the 75 needed by August to qualify for matching funds.

Shafran, who worked most recently as a vice president of public relations for Empire State Development, raised a total of $7,566 within the district and more than $51,000 outside the district, the board said. Some of his support came from places outside of the borough like Albany, where he has worked as a member of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration. Of his top 10 financial contributions, four of them cited Queens addresses.

“Dan Halloran has raised the vast majority of his funds from the voters who matter most in this race — those who live in the district and who he has served for the last three years,” said Kevin Ryan, Halloran’s spokesman. “Because of his excellent constituent services and record, he is very well-known to district residents.”

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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