Money Talks

Well-heeled incumbents heavily favored in city congressional races

With a week to go, you'd hardly know there were congressional races in New York City.

Big-bucks incumbents dominate the field in the city's 13 districts. To run against most of them would cost a fortune. Generally, their opponents have less than $5000, according to election commission records.

Because so few people vote, and nothing less than a local scandal will move people to the polls in big numbers (forget Zippergate), incumbents are likely to win. Slightly more than 5 percent of 13.5 million voters turned out in last month's Democratic primary.

Best-heeled of the lot is Staten Island's Vito J. Fossella Jr., a onetime Democrat who won Susan Molinari's seat after she stepped down for an unsuccessful shot at becoming a Saturday-morning TV news anchor. Fossella is prolife and all for school vouchers: a cutting-edge issue for any conservative Republican. Most important, his bank account is over $1 million.

There are two open districts, but in each the retiring member has virtually appointed his successor, eliminating serious competition, let alone any real discussion of issues.

Thomas Manton, the Queens boss, opted for retirement at age 65 so he could pass his seat to his protégé, Joseph Crowley, 36, the Elmhurst assemblyman. Manton served 14 years in Congress after 15 years on the City Council. Crowley's claim to fame is that he got the schools to teach kids about the Irish potato famine.

After a stiff primary fight, Charles Schumer's congressional seat went to his handpicked successor, Councilman Anthony D. Weiner, a 34-year-old former Schumer aide, by a narrow margin. Although Weiner has Schumer's endorsement, it remains to be seen whether he can inherit his level of backing from the finance industry.

The following chart lists campaign finances based on figures from the Federal Elections Commission as of October 1. Industry totals and other breakdowns come from the Center for Responsive Politics, which issued its last report on October 19. Most opponents have not reported any financing with the FEC, signifying that their campaign kitties are below $5000. Where opponents have raised funds, it is noted.

District/Incumbent Challenger(s) Sound Bite In the Bank
5 Gary L. Ackerman (d)

Parts of Queens and Suffolk

David C. Pinzon (r)
Anne T. Robinson (i)
"Queens deserves its fair share of federal funding." $581,435
6 Gregory W. Meeks (d) 1
Southeast Queens
None "Increase tax credits for working families to help them pay for child care." $190,485
7 Joseph Crowley (d) 2
Parts of Queens, Bronx
James J. Dillon (r)
Howard Gorham (i)
Richard Retcho (i)
"Guarantee patient choice of physician selection through HMOs." $105,165
8 Jerrold L. Nadler (d)
West Side Manhattan, Southwest Brooklyn
Theodore Howard (r) "Social Security's rock-solid dependability must be preserved." $421,191
9 Anthony Weiner (d) 3
Brooklyn, Queens, Sheepshead Bay, Forest Hills
Lou Telano (r)
Arthur J. Smith (i)
"Endorsed by Chuck Schumer" $319,879
(Telano raised $8900)
10 Edolphus Towns (d)
Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Heights
Ernestine M. Brown (r)
Ernest Johnson (i)
"Tobacco money is not illegal." $592,496
11 Major R. Owens (d)
Central Brooklyn
David Greene (r) "Share the prosperity with working families by increasing the minimum wage." $74,890
12 Nydia M. Velazquez (d)
Lower East Side, parts of Brooklyn, Queens
Hector Cortez Jr. (i)
Angel Diaz (i)
Rosemarie Markgraf (r)
"Protect our working communities from the effects of toxic dumping." $329,418
13 Vito J. Fossella Jr. (r)
Staten Island, parts of Southwest Brooklyn
Eugene V. Prisco (d)
Anita Lerman (i)
"Americans need and deserve tax relief." $1.3 million
(Prisco raised $5620)
14 Carolyn B. Maloney (d)
East Side Manhattan, parts of Queens, Brooklyn
Stephanie Kupferman (r) "On-site day care for parents who must work to support today's families" $461,358
(Kupferman raised $14,000)
15 Charles B. Rangel (d)
Upper Manhattan, Harlem, Washington Heights
David Cunningham (r)
Patrick McManus (i)
"Focus on improving education and job training." $996,556
16 Jose E. Serrano (d)
South Bronx
Thomas Bayley Jr. (r)
Owen Camp (i)
"Pursue policies to encourage the use and learning of English as well as other languages." $87,271
17 Eliot L. Engel (d)
North Bronx, parts of Westchester
Peter Fiumefreddo (r) "Make affordable rental property available to low-income families, and encourage home ownership." $343,845
(Fiume- freddo raised $6925)

District/Incumbent Money Trail Sugar Daddies
5 Gary L. Ackerman (d)

Parts of Queens and Suffolk

$87,900 from finance industry; $87,850 from labor IBEW, Fun City, National Association of Mortgage Brokers, AFT
6 Gregory W. Meeks (d) 1
Southeast Queens
$92,650 from labor; $15,700 from finance AFSCME, Local 1199, Human Rights Campaign, Laborers
7 Joseph Crowley (d) 2
Parts of Queens, Bronx
$14,100 from finance; $9300 from lawyers Mutual of America, AGBU, E. Butts Realty, City Underwriting Agency, Yonkers Raceway, Davidoff & Malito
8 Jerrold L. Nadler (d)
West Side Manhattan, Southwest Brooklyn
$67,550 from finance; $66,250 from lawyers Ticketmaster Corp.; Local 1199; American Stevedoring; Milberg, Weiss
9 Anthony Weiner (d) 3
Brooklyn, Queens, Sheepshead Bay, Forest Hills
$19,250 from labor; $17,900 from business interests Plumbers Union, Crown Nursing Home, Northeast Securities
10 Edolphus Towns (d)
Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Heights
$99,457 from finance; $93,189 from health professionals Deloitte & Touche, Oppenheimer & Co., American Hospital Association, Time Warner, RJR Nabisco
11 Major R. Owens (d)
Central Brooklyn
$53,250 from labor; $3500 from finance AFSCME, International Association of Fire Fighters, Laborers
12 Nydia M. Velazquez (d)
Lower East Side, parts of Brooklyn, Queens
$99,126 from labor; $34,515 from finance AFSCME, Local 1199, Laborers, Teamsters, American Bankers Association
13 Vito J. Fossella Jr. (r)
Staten Island, parts of Southwest Brooklyn
$220,000 from single-issue groups; $191,260 from finance Adco Electrical Corp.; Deloitte & Touche; United Parcel Service; American Medical Association; Spear, Leeds & Kellogg
14 Carolyn B. Maloney (d)
East Side Manhattan, parts of Queens, Brooklyn
$104,661 from finance; $80,700 from labor Teamsters; AFT; Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union; Fisher Brothers; American Bankers Association
15 Charles B. Rangel (d)
Upper Manhattan, Harlem, Washington Heights
$223,915 from finance; $99,753 from business interests Travelers Group, New York Life, American Society of Anesthesiologists, Met Life, AFLAC Inc., Canandaigua Wine Co.
16 Jose E. Serrano (d)
South Bronx
$39,250 from labor; $16,500 from agriculture AFSCME, American Crystal Sugar Co., Machinists, SEIU, Flo-Sun Inc.
17 Eliot L. Engel (d)
North Bronx, parts of Westchester
$83,048 from finance; $62,125 from labor AT&T, New York Stock Exchange, Bell Atlantic, AFSCME, American Hospital Association


Research assistance: Bob Frederick

 
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