Mijin Cha is a senior policy analyst at the Demos Sustainable Progress Initiative. She is the author of The New York City Green Collar Jobs Roadmap and has written for the Georgetown International Law Review and the Albany Law Environmental Outlook Journal.
Last week, we talked about the role that outside spending played in the New York City Council race and how of the 20 candidates Jobs for New York supported, 16 won. However, as Mark Schmitt at TheNew Republic pointed out, over half of the candidates Jobs for New York supported also had the support of the Working Families Party, who are often on the opposite side of the real estate debate.
Last week, we highlighted how the outside money group, Jobs for New York, was dominating the New York City Council races. So, how did they do? Not too shabby—of the 20 candidates they supported, 16 won, two are still too close to call, and two more were unsuccessful. Let’s look at the two races that are too close to call, Council District 19 and Council District 36.
Former Governor Eliot Spitzer announced his run for NYC Comptroller yesterday and this morning on the Brian Lehrer show, he attacked his opponent, Scott Stringer, for opting into public financing. Spitzer said, “He (Stringer)’ll be spending your money, I’ll be spending my own.” This characteristic of public financing is misleading and wrong. In fact, public financing is one of the only tools constituents have to combat the corrosive influence of money in our electoral system.
Yesterday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled his own proposal for public financing of campaigns. The governor’s proposal adds to several others currently under consideration to get money out of the electoral system in the state. After a year of high-profile corruption scandals and arrests, it’s clear that something must be done.
Last week, 72 New York State Assemblymen sent a letter to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver urging him to support a public financing program for primary, general, and special election campaigns for statewide offices. Such a program would match modest contributions with public funds, which allow small contributors to have a larger impact and brings more donors into the political process. As New York legislators consider adopting a public financing system, a new report from Demos shows the positive impact public financing has had in Connecticut.