One of Rafael Salamanca’s most determined political opponents now is among the backers of the new city council member’s re-election, new filings with the city’s campaign finance board show.
Julio Pabon, who ran unsuccessfully to represent Hunts Point, Longwood, Mott Haven and part of Melrose in the last two elections, has donated $25 to the Salamanca campaign, according to disclosures filed on July 11.
“I think he’s doing OK,” said Pabon in an interview in which he emphasized that he opposed the Democratic organization that supported Salamanca, not the candidate himself. His short time in office has been “a good start,” he said.
In order to win a full four-year term beginning in 2017, Salamanca will have to win two more elections: a primary on Sept. 13 and the general election in November.
Retired union leader Helen Foreman-Hines, who also sought the council seat in the special election to succeed Maria Del Carmen Arroyo last February, has signaled that she will try again to defeat Salamanca in the election scheduled for Sept.
As he did for the special election, Salamanca has already built a fund-raising lead by relying on the Bronx Democratic Party machine and elected officials for substantial contributions. The party’s county committee has donated $2,750, as has the campaign of Manhattan council member Corey Johnson. Council member Mark Levine’s campaign has donated $1,000, and Congressman Jose E. Serrano, who sat out the February election, has kicked in $250 from his campaign fund.
A political action committee formed by landlords, the Neighborhood Preservation Political Fund, added $1,000, and Salamanca’s disclosure form is dotted with contributions of $250 or more from real estate executives and contractors, led by Anthony Gonzalez, CEO of Zale Management, who contributed $1,000.
On Facebook, Salamanca appealed for small contributions, noting that the city provides $6 for every dollar raised from contributions of $175 or less once at least 75 people from the district have made a small contribution.
“Every campaign faces fundraising deadlines and this one is no different,” the councilman wrote. “What does make us different is that I have grassroots support from voters in my community. We aren’t funded by special interests or big money and today, with a filing deadline coming up soon, I need your support.”
Pabon was one of 17 contributors who made a small contribution eligible to be matched. The others ranged from a janitor at Hyde Charter School to administrators at a variety of non-profit organizations.
By contrast, 176 donors gave Foreman-Hines $175 or less. All-told, she has raised $10,191 since the special election, nearly 15 percent of it from people employed by Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union, where Foreman-Hines served as project director. She has $1900 unspent.
Salamanca reported contributions of $16,950, and has $13,453 on hand.
Residents who wish to register to vote in the primary can download a form in English or Spanish from the State Board of Elections at http://www.elections.ny.gov/VotingRegister.html or can call 1-800-FOR-VOTE to request an application by mail.
Residents who have a drivers license or state non-driver ID can also register to vote online through the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website.