Margaret Chin Has Two Challengers in City Council Election

Margaret Chin at campaign rally in 2013.

Margaret Chin at campaign rally in 2013.

Candidates running for city offices this year were required to file campaign finance disclosure reports by midnight last night. This means we now have a decent picture of the battle for the Lower East Side’s two City Council seats.

In District 1, which includes most of downtown below East Houston Street, Council member Margaret Chin appears to have two challengers. Christopher Marte, a lifelong Lower East Side resident, has raised $22,345. Another candidate, attorney Aaron Foldenauer, raised $11,059. Chin has collected $33,337. Because Chin has spent more on her campaign so far than Marte, the two candidates have about the same amount in their accounts.

Marte considered competing for Sheldon Silver’s former state assembly seat last year, but instead ran a spirited campaign for a state committee seat (he lost that race). He has become a regular presence at community events and has sided with residents opposed to Council member Chin’s stance on some key issues. Marte has, for example, been an outspoken critic of Chin’s push to build affordable housing on a plot now used by the Elizabeth Street Garden. Many of Chin’s longtime foes, including members of the political club, Downtown Independent Democrats, have donated to Marte’s campaign.

In District 2, we reported over the weekend that candidate Carlina Rivera is just about finished with her fundraising. She’s raised more than $77,000. Another candidate, attorney and community activist Mary Silver, has raised $38,725. Jasmin Sanchez filed to run with the Campaign Finance Board but she had not submitted any financial reports as of 6 p.m. yesterday. The District 2 seat is currently held by Rosie Mendez, who is prevented from seeking another term due to term limits.

The spending cap for City Council campaigns is $182,000. The city offers a six-to-one match for the first $175 in donations from local residents. The Democratic Primary will be held in September.