New York City Elections are, at least in part, a money game. Contributions from the public enable candidates for local office to hire staff, run campaign ads, and make the case to voters.
The 2021 city election cycle is no exception. Already this cycle, candidates across the city (including those running for mayor, comptroller, borough president and City Council) have received nearly $30,000,000 in contributions from over 200,000 individuals. Citywide, the average contribution rate is $148.
But citywide totals can mask important local differences. So Bklyner decided to take a look at which Brooklyn neighborhoods are contributing the most money to local races this election cycle, using data from the New York City Campaign Finance Board’s newly created mapping tool.
We found that two zip codes encompassing wealthy Brooklyn neighborhoods like Brooklyn Heights and Park Slope accounted for the largest share of contributions so far.
Residents in zip code 11201, which includes Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, Downtown Brooklyn and parts of Cobble Hill, have contributed $640,304 to local races so far.
Contributions from this zip code included several high-dollar donations from politically active individuals in the finance, real estate and legal fields. Some of that money has since been returned by candidates who must limit the size of their donations to participate in the city’s matching funds program (mayoral candidate Eric Adams, for example, returned $3,100 of the $5,100 given to him by Diana Carone, the wife of Brooklyn Democratic Party lawyer Frank Carone).
But some of it has not. Another mayoral candidate, Ray Mcguire, who is not participating in the city’s watching funds program and can therefore accept larger donations, has received over $20,000 in donations from the family of father-son investment banking team W. and K. Don Cornwell, who live in Brooklyn Heights.
Close behind was the zip code 11215, which includes Park Slope along with parts of Gowanus and Windsor Terrace. Residents in that area have contributed $595,685 to local races so far.
That’s a far cry from zip codes in Eastern Brooklyn like 11239, which includes Starrett City and Spring Creek. There, residents have contributed only $11,167 so far this election cycle.
But just looking at total donations obscures another interesting fact: while Northwest Brooklyn zip codes have contributed the most money overall, Southern Brooklyn zip codes have the highest average contribution amount per individual.
The zip code with the highest average contribution was 11204, which includes Mapleton and parts of Bensonhurst. There, the average donation size was $232. A look at the list of donations from that zip code shows several large contributions to the campaign account of local Council Member Kalman Yeger, who, notably, is running unopposed for reelection to District 44 Council seat. Yeger is not participating in the city’s matching funds program, which means he can accept larger private contributions.
To dig further into the data yourself, check out the Campaign Finance Board’s website.
The primary election is June 22nd.