Davis outperforms Ashe-Nadrowski and Brown, according to ELEC reports

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So far, Mayor James Davis has largely raised funds for his mayoral opponents, including City Council Speaker Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski and doctor and lawyer Mitchell Brown. However, spending and contributions are expected to increase ahead of the May 10 municipal elections.

According to a 29-day pre-election filing on April 8 with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC), Davis had $36,268.88 in cash. This is the first report since January and gives a sense of the financial state of each campaign’s sunset hours race.

The report says Davis has raised $483,112 to date, with $4,500 recently added in monetary contributions in the April report.

Incumbent Davis claims massive campaign

A previous ELEC report from January said Davis had about $145,370 in cash. Since then, he has spent most of that sum, with just $36,268 in cash according to the April report.

Since then, the race has intensified further with additional advertisements on television, online, in newspapers and the like, so more of that has been spent. Simultaneously, Davis regularly hosts fundraisers, so he’s likely bringing in more donations.

The report shows the donations which represent a recent contribution of $4,500, including $2,500 from the International Longshoremens Association and $300 from city planner Suzanne Mack. Also included in the $4,500 are donations under $300, totaling $1,200.

Of Davis’ total contributions to date totaling $483,112, most contributions are over $300, totaling $336,584, and donations under $300 total $147,427. There were $900 in campaign contribution refunds.

Davis’ main donors are labor unions, city employees, and redevelopers, among private citizens. Unions that have donated to Davis include the International Longshoremen’s Association of which Bayonne Assemblyman William Sampson is a member, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 164, the United Association of Plumbers, Local 24, among others.

Who supports Davis?

City employees supporting Davis with campaign contributions in 2022 include chief legal officer Jay Coffey, chief financial officer Donna Mauer, health department nurse Suzanne Cavanaugh, the aforementioned Mack and former Director of Municipal Services Tim Boyle, among others. A number of redevelopers have also donated to Davis, including Wasseem Boraie of Boraie Development, Joel Bergstein of Lincoln Equities Group, Francesco Alessi of the Alessi Organization, and Ehab “Jimmy” Gamal of the Gamal Group.

Bayonne elected officials supporting Davis with donations include County Executive Tom DeGise, County Commissioner Kenneth Kopacz, Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari, and school trustee Pam Sclafene, to name a few. Additionally, other notable campaign donations include BMC Hospital, LLC CEO Wayne HatamiJoe Bolowski of A&L Disposal, LLC, and former special adviser on redevelopment and now involved with the Ashe-Nadrowski Joe DeMarco campaign since April 2021.

According to the ELEC report, Davis spent $464,651, including $113,651 spent since January according to the April report. Notable expenses in the report include $25,027 for various forms of campaign signage from Bayonne-based Vital Signs; $11,700 for research and polling by Change Research in Berkley, California; $13,030 for campaign headquarters and $7,500 for consulting services from Vision Media Marketing.

The campaign has also made a number of charitable donations since January, totaling $12,075. Part of that sum is the $3,500 Davis previously received from Suez and donated to the Windmill Alliance as promised, following an exchange with At-Large City Council candidate Jodi Casais on the ticket of Ashe-Nadrowski and administrator of the Bayonne school board. .

Ashe-Nadrowski speaks to those who have come to dinner with local seniors. Photo courtesy of the Ashe-Nadrowski campaign.

Ashe-Nadrowski vies with modest campaign

During the first mayoral debate, Ashe-Nadrowski described her campaign as a “local campaign of small donors”.

According to her 29-day pre-election filing with the League on April 19, she raised a total of $63,304. She has spent $59,045 since her last deposit in January, currently leaving her with $4,259 in the bank.

A number of Ashe-Nadrowski’s donations are under one hundred dollars, according to the April ELEC report, but there are also a number of big donors. Of the contributions to his campaign, those over $300 totaled $44,225 and those under $300 totaled $19,079.

With fewer donors than Davis, Ashe-Nadrowski enjoys financial support from a few key figures. Ashe-Nadrowski’s top donors are Chiaravalloti for Assembly with a $5,000 contribution, Sal Gullace for Second Ward with $3,000, Melissa Mathews with $2,500, the Together We Can 2021 account on which her Bayonne Board of Education President Maria Valado and Casais ran, who contributed $1,388, and Education Council President Christopher Munoz, who donated $100, with many others listed in the report.

His expenses for campaign operating expenses total $59,045. According to the League report, major expenses include: $25,261 to Kennedy Communications in Laurel, Maryland for general mailings, neighborhood-specific mailings and walk maps; rent for his campaign headquarters, totaling $9,500 so far with $1,900 a month; $7,849 to Activate Media for policy consultations; $2,500 to LB Strategy, LLC of Rockaway for policy consultations in February and March; and $1,600 to NGP VAN Inc. of Washington DC for research and surveys, and other expenses.

Brown filed the necessary paperwork to run, but just started fundraising on April 21 and hasn’t recorded any contributions or expenses with ELEC in his April 4 filing. During the debate, Brown said he was running a campaign “in a pinch, floss.”

PACs and Super PACs heavily involved in racing

In addition to campaign contributions, political action committees (PACs) and Super PACs have also been a point of contention in Bayonne’s mayoral race.

It all started last year with a Washington DC-based Super PAC, the Citizens for Strength and Security Fund. This PAC launched the “Dirty Davis” attack ad campaign in late 2021, but the activity died out in 2022. There are no filings with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) or the ‘ELEC.

Then the government for the people Super PAC made headlines after a political consultant it had paid pleaded guilty to a murder-for-hire conspiracy. Sean Caddle was paid $2,500 in December 2021, just a month after pleading guilty for his role in the death of Michael Galdieri, as reported earlier this month by The Record. His plea was made public in January this year, but it was only recently that it was made clear that he had pleaded guilty in November. As it all unfolded, it was revealed that the PAC was created by former state senator Ray Lesniak to support Davis for a third term and also received contributions from donors to Davis’ campaign. Wasseem Boraie and Eric Bergstol.

Subsequently, another entity entered the fray, the Committee to Advance New Jersey. Technically not a PAC but a nonprofit, he has since sent several letters supporting Ashe-Nadrowski.

The most recent PAC that has been noticed to have its weight in the race is the Quality Leadership Fund. The PAC, which held a fundraiser in Bayonne earlier in the year when Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop endorsed Davis, also sent letters touting Davis. Reports from the ELEC show this to be funded by the Jersey City Democratic Committee and the 2021 Fulop team.

Meanwhile, Brown hasn’t been involved in the crossfire on PACs and campaign distributions, largely due to the relatively late launch of his platform and the late timing of his first fundraiser. Either way, the race to May 10 is on and every campaign is putting their feet to the metal as they approach the finish line.

For updates on this story and others, visit www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at [email protected]

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