CONGRATULATIONS TO (PRESUMPTIVE) CONGRESSMAN-ELECT MONDAIRE JONES
The results are almost certain at this point: even with 50% of votes yet to be counted, Mondaire Jones's lead of 9,000 votes over second place looks insurmountable. Schleifer's second place total of about 7,000 votes is deceptive as it includes about 3,300 votes from the Monsey/New Square Orthodox "Block." Unlike the rest of the district, where about 50% of votes are absentee ballots that have yet to be counted, only 25% of Block voters sent in absentee requests. Projecting that Schleifer's non-Block votes will double as absentees are counted (see below), and add in the 1000 remaining Block voters, Schleifer will probably top off around 12,000 votes, well below Mondaire's current total of 16,000. But, you say, those absentees came early before Mondaire-mania ignited and should cut against him? Actually, not necessarily true: a full 30% of the absentee ballots that have arrived at Westchester BOE were logged on June 22 or later. These late arriving ballots were probably mailed after the PPP Poll showing Mondaire's lead was released on June 16 and, consequently, these voters were subject to the same late-building enthusiasm which propelled Mondaire's numbers on primary day. So Mondaire may lose a few points with absentee counting, but I don't expect him to fall much below 40% when the counting is final. Proofread those internship applications and resumes you GWU kids!
Mondaire Jones's inevitability renders the rest of these issues anti-climatic, but we still have a lot of votes to count and lot of data that will keep us obsessives occupied well into July.
As of this morning, Westchester BOE is reporting 18,309 voters from primary day and early voting. I suspect that this total does not include 1,208 early voters from Peekskill and White Plains. When the BOE posted the early votes list yesterday morning, I was surprised that the cities (WP and Peekskill) were listed separately from the towns. When I added the primary day and early vote total yesterday morning, I came up with 19,516: the difference from the county's total of 18,309 being exactly the WP and Peekskill 1,208 early votes. The BOE, however, since removed the early vote page. Hopefully I'm wrong. Rockland County reports 16,906 voters - presumably including both primary day and early voters, but no absentees.
So we have 35,215 (or 36,423 as I suspect) primary day and early votes accounted for and probably won't see anything more until the absentees numbers are released, presumably around July 4th weekend.
How many absentee votes are there to be counted? The spreadsheet I received from Rockland County listed 7,557 absentee ballots received through primary day, June 23. Westchester's BOE shows 27,288 absentees received through this morning, June 25. Presumably some of these absentees ballots will be discarded because the voters showed up on primary day but more will keep arriving this week. I don't know the extent of the lag between absentee ballots being received by the BOEs in the mail and getting logged in the spreadsheet. In any event, at least 34,845 absentee ballots remain to be counted, nearly equaling (and, eventually, probably exceeding) the number of votes recorded to date.
Most likely, we're going to hit 70,000 total votes which blows through even the most optimistic expectations when this race started, far surpassing the 63,334 who turned out for the 2018 Governor/AG primary although probably not reaching the 77,168 voters in the 2016 Clinton-Sanders presidential primary in our congressional district.
WOMEN VOTE! (but not for women)
As reported here repeatedly, Emily's List strongly backed Evelyn Farkas through contributions via its WOMEN VOTE! PAC, in the amount of $274,471. For some context, we do know from voting records that in Westchester, Democratic primary voters are about 60% female. Thus, it's surprising to see, at least in the preliminary numbers (which could change), that with four woman among the eight candidates receiving votes, that female candidates cumulatively received under 18% of the total vote. Let's play with these numbers for a moment: (1) start with the premise that 60% of the primary voters were female and (2) estimate that 70% of the voters for Farkas, Castleberry-Hernandez, Fine and Parker were women (the PPP Poll showed a voter gender gap with women choosing female candidates over male voters by 20% to 16%). Based on (1) and (2), we can project almost 80% of female voters likely voted for male candidates despite having several viable female candidates to choose from in the race. Again, this number could shift as absentees are counted, but the preliminary indications are surprising. What say you, Emily's List?
REGENERON UNDER THE MICROSCOPE (OR BINOCULARS?)
In light of recent allegations against the big Pharma company (Greenburgh's biggest private employer?), maybe it's for the best that Adam Schleifer won't pull off this election.
NEXT: a closer look at The Block and an attempt to put Mondaire Jones's remarkable June into context.
This Jewish Insider article this morning supports reports I heard over the weekend that the Orthodox block in Ramapo is backing Adam Schleifer. My source indicated that the PPP poll released last week confirmed concerns in Monsey that preferred Rockland native David Carlucci could not win; the same with Buchwald. Mondaire Jones, understood to represent the Bernie Sanders-wing of the party, that is viewed warily within Monsey, wasn’t seriously considered. Schleifer, the former prosecutor, apparently made a convincing case that he had a stronger chance to win than Evelyn Farkas. Turnout, however, is the big question. With the late turn to Schleifer and lack of interest in a race for an office that has little impact on immediate community concerns, turnout is expected to by driven the state senate race where turnout should probably resemble the 2018 Carlucci/Goldberg primary (about 4000- 5000 Orthodox voters) rather than the full mobilization for the 2019 Rockland DA race where Orthodox turnout was about 8000.
In other campaign news, some very late PAC money continued to be declared for Mondaire Jones on Sunday with $12,500 from Equality PAC (Total: $67,500) and $1923 from The Collective PAC (Total: $26,031), all for television ads.
Predictit looks pretty good to me. (h/t Kevin W Davis on Facebook this morning).
Even at this late date, outside PAC money is flowing in to back Mondaire Jones:
Equality PAC with another $12,500 (TOTAL: $42,500) for television advertisements
The Collective PAC with another $1,923 (TOTAL: $24,107) also for television advertisements.
This latest spending pushes Jones over $500,000 from outside PACs who directly fund vendors (and not reported by the candidate as campaign contributions).
Jones has a lot more money dropping directly into his war chest: the latest FEC filings show that he received $155,300 in itemized donations (including $20,300 in district) since the June 3rd FEC filings. [Again, for purposes of FEC filings itemized donations show donors who have cumulatively given at least $200 to a candidate during a campaign season. ] Jones's previous ratio of itemized to small donors was 5.5:1, so at the same pace he may have another $28,000 in small donations as yet unreported. Including the outside PAC money, the Jones campaign has benefitted from a total of $1.8million in funding this campaign.
Some interesting recent Jones donors include Susan Sarandon with $1000, AOC's Courage to Change PAC with $5000, Rep. David Cicillene's (D-RI) "Cicillene Committee" with $2000, Rep. Mark Pocan's (D- WI) Blue Majority PAC with $2000, Rep. Debra Haaland's (D-NM) Fierce PAC with $2,500, and the End Citizens United PAC with $3000.
During the same time period (since June 3), Evelyn Farkas took in $102,748 ($8,600 in district) in itemized. donations. Some interesting recent Farkas donors include former State Dept official and think tanker, Ann-Marie Slaughter ($1000), the committees of Rep. Victoria Escobar (D-TX) $1000, and Rep. Julie Brownley (D-CA) $2000 and the Leadership Opportunity Innovation Service (LOIS) PAC with $2000. I've been informed that my comment yesterday was incorrect and that Emily's List has not given up on Farkas. While there have not been recent allocations that I've noticed, apparently the Vote Women! PAC scheduled its mailings in advance.
David Carlucci took in $34,416 since June 3 in itemized donations; David Buchwald $4,800 and Allison Fine $3,000.
But I know what you've been waiting for: the Adam Schleifer update. As I reported previously, Schleifer loaned his campaign $450,000 on June 15. Forgive my confusion when I learned on twitter that he loaned an additional $450,000 on June 17. I didn't realize that was a new loan. This latest of latest loans raises the Schleifer family investment in Adam's campaign up to $4,903,662 (including loans, and candidates and family member contributions). Since June 3, Schleifer has also received $10,600 in itemized donations (including $2800 from a Regeneron employee). Along with the $489,000 in outside contributions that Schleifer has received, this latest tranche of loans raises the Schleifer's campaign account to about $5,392,000. But don't be too concerned for Adam's wallet: Regeneron stock is at an all-time high.
For some very interesting reading check out the Hamodia interviews with Schleifer, Buchwald and Carlucci. Hamodia is aimed at a "yeshivish" or "black hat" wearing Orthodox sector that you'll find in Monsey or Lakewood, and parts of Brooklyn (as opposed to UWS/Teaneck/Riverdale/New Roc modern orthodox) but that is more engaged in the world than yiddish-only Hasidic sects. One clue is that you'll have to look hard to find women pictured in Hamodia. The interviewer asks some very direct question about taxes, private school subsidies and yeshivah monitoring by NY: you'll see that none of these candidates seem to really impress the interviewer. These interviews add to my skepticism that the Ramapo "block" will effectively unite around any single candidate. You do see a lot of concern in the interview about "socialists" in the Democratic Party so don't expect Bernie-endorsed Mondaire Jones to get much support in Monsey.
WILL THIS EVER END? NO - AT LEAST NOT ON JUNE 23RD
As the PPP Poll showed us in Question 9, over 60% of primary voters plan to vote by absentee ballot. So, the election will not be decided until absentee ballots are counted. When will they be counted? According to NY Elec Law #9-209, absentee ballot are canvassed no more than eight days after a primary. It is understood that the Westchester County Board of Elections doesn't intend to complete the absentee count until 8 days after the primary. So don't expect the results until July 1 at the earliest.
CD17 DEM BALLOTING UPDATE:
Absent. Ballots sent Absent Votes Received Voted in Person
Westchester (6/18) 41,162 13,970. 2,736
Rockland (6/19): 22,610 1,750* ?
* Is Rockland just not recording the absentee ballots as they come in?
The New York Times published a very good article about the race from metro desk reporter Dana Rubenstein with the attention-grabbing title of "Can a Billionaire's Son Spend His Way to a House Seat in New York." Who could that refer to? Rubenstein references the PPP poll - something which our local Journal News could not be bothered to do despite repeated reminders.
WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show (with Sean Carlson filling in for Brian) had a lengthy conversation yesterday about the CD17 race with Mark Lungariello from the Journal News.
In other media, Evelyn Farkas launched a new ad which stands out for directly attacking Adam Schleifer by using his "snake" comment directed at Farkas during a recent debate as a spring-board to juxtapose Schleifer with Trump as sexist and to associate Farkas with Hillary Clinton as the target of sexist denigration. Of course, unlike in our neighboring CD16 where Clinton endorsed Elliot Engel, Clinton has not endorsed in CD17. This wish-fulfillment "endorsement by suggestion" is similar to the recent Mondaire Jones mailing, courtesy of the Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC, which cites Elizabeth Warren's endorsement, but suggestively places the word "endorsed" next to an image of President Obama who hovers over Jones's right shoulder like an electoral guardian angel.
Recent contributions from outside PACS to vendors for the benefit of the Jones campaign:
Fight for the American Dream PAC (the mystery PAC!) $32,000 (TOTAL $160,174) to Middle Seat for online advertising
Equality PAC: $12,500 (TOTAL: $55,000) to Sage Media for Television Advertisements
The Collective Super PAC: TOTAL: $22,185
i. on 6/18 $1,923 to 76 Words for Television Advertisement
ii. on 6/17: $1,923 to 76 Words for Television Advertisement and $,1800 to Silversmith Strategies for "production."
Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC $22,788 (TOTAL: $178,254) to Deliver Strategies for Direct Mail
Add in End Citizens United PAC which has given Mondaire's campaign $72,500 and Mondaire has benefitted from a total of $488,113 in PAC spending on his behalf this June. Again, these PACS are paying vendors directly and this money does not show up on the campaign's FEC filings as receipts. Mondaire also benefitted directly from #39,100 in itemized donations received on June 16 and 17,
Notably absent from PAC spending is Emily's List and its Vote Woman! PAC which seems to have abandoned the Farkas ship since June 11, focusing instead on other candidates after previously spending $274,741 for the Farkas effort.
In late breaking news, in time for candle lighting, twitter account @pattinotpattie from "Hudson Valley" tweeted the following this afternoon:
Wow, the notorious "Orthodox Block" in the Town of Ramapo is abandoning David Carlucci in favor of Adam Schleifer - and Justin Sweet for state senate. Those block voters! But, wait..... @Ny17I tweeted this also this afternoon (from a Pete Williams who I cannot identify):
Now, "they" are supporting Carlucci and Elijah Reichlin-Melnick! Why can't you block voters act like a.... voting block already? Stop messing with the narrative and complicating our simplistic assumptions about you!
One of the campaigns seeks to impeach the credibility of the PPP Poll. This campaign asserts that the poll was manipulated to improve Mondaire Jones's position in the results. The specific allegations spread through social media posts and emails are that the cell phone portion of the polling was hacked by (1) allowing multiple responses to the poll questions from single individuals, and (2) individuals forwarding the link texted by PPP to friends (who were not part of the survey sample contacted by PPP) who then submitted unsolicited responses.
As I explained yesterday, I am part of the group of Greenburgh Democrats who organized and raised funds to take the PPP poll. We take these allegations seriously. We contacted PPP today to review these claims and get PPP's response. The PPP pollster explained that PPP's cell-phone text question system was created to reach the growing number of voters who cannot be readily contacted by landline. The cellphone user is contacted with a text that gives a link to a Survey Monkey poll. The link is unique for each cell phone number that is contacted. The pollster explained that the hack methods I described above have been anticipated by PPP in designing its cell phone polling system. If someone tries to answer multiple times, then all responses from that phone number are automatically discarded. Responses received from third parties who received the link from others will be discarded because the response did not come from the phone number associated with the link in the initial text from PPP.
In summary, the accusations we’ve seen online and in emails misunderstand PPP's polling method. The hacking attempts described above are anticipated and readily countered by PPP’s security system. After speaking to PPP, we are confident in the poll’s integrity with respect to the cell phone portion.
There was no hack of the PPP poll to benefit Mondaire Jones; nor was there any coordination between the poll organizers and the Mondaire Jones campaign.
Reaction to the Public Policy Polling (PPP) Poll sponsored by Greenburgh Democrats* continues today: it's the featured story in The Intercept today and Barrett Seaman is first on the scene in Westchester in the Hudson Independent. A New York Times story should be coming shortly. With the Journal News's astounding decision to furlough much of its political reporting staff for the week, we don't know when to expect an update on the CD17 campaign in our only daily regional newspaper. Reaction to the poll ranged from elation among the Mondairiacs (but some serious resolve from the candidate himself) to dismissal and skepticism from the other camps, including challenges to the polls validity coming from some candidates' disappointed staff and supporters.
* Full disclosure: I am a Greenburgh District Leader and part of the committee that raised funds to pay for the poll and contracted with PPP to conduct the poll. I am also acting as spokesman for this group of Greenburgh Democratic Party activists. This poll was arranged with a nationally-reputed polling firm independently of any campaign interference and was not coordinated with any campaigns.
ADAM UPS THE ANTE
Undeterred, and perhaps spurred, by the PPP results, Adam is pushing in more of his chips tonight to infuse his campaign with another $450,000 of his own money. This new loan raises the Schleifer family investment in Adam's campaign to $4,453,662 (I'm including contributions from family members named Schleifer because I don't see a real difference in the source of all these Schleifer funds). Let's ponder these numbers for a moment. We know from FEC filings that as of June 3, 2020, Schleifer has already spent $4,103,004 on his campaign. At that time, he had $368,525 cash on hand. I assume he wouldn't need another $450K unless he has already blown through most of that $368K. Let's give Adam the benefit of the doubt and allow him $100K left in campaign funds on June 23: that will mean he will certainly spend $4.8million on his campaign. Bear with me: let's assume record turnout of 80,000 and even imagine that Adam gets up to 25% and pulls this out, with 20,000 voters. That means that Schleifer - in this best case scenario - will spend $240 per vote. This may be an unprecedented per vote sum for a House race (at least for general elections; I'm not sure about primaries). And then, if Adam gets closer to 12,000 votes (which is what I expect), his per vote spending threatens to approach a mind-boggling $400 per vote.
PAC 'EM IN
Mondaire Jones continues to see last minute PAC money flowing to help his campaign: the Equality PAC just handed over $17,000 with $12,500 going to Sage Media Planning & Placement Inc for television advertisement and $5000 going Silversmith Strategies for television production. Equality PAC is the "political arm of the Congressional LGBTQ Equality Caucus."
Regular readers here will now be well familiar with the Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC which today gave $20,824 to Deliver Strategies LLC for direct mail on behalf of Mondaire, raising that PAC's generosity up to $155,466 spent to help Mondaire's campaign.
Yesterday, the mysterious "dark money" Fight for the American Dream PAC gave another $12,000 to Middle Seat for "online advertising" to help Mondaire Jones and raising this PAC's total contributions up to $128,174. Jones continues to be "Fight" PAC's only beneficiary.
With at least $380,000 in PAC money this month, Mondaire Jones has now sped far ahead of Evelyn Farkas in outside PAC contributions paid directly to vendors to benefit the campaign.
Mondaire Jones also collected an impressive $38,200 in itemized contributions on just June 14 and 15 (Farkas by contrast raised $9691 in itemized contributions over the same two days). With this strong finish, Jones is approaching $1.6million in fundraising (including outside PAC spending) and may well surpass Farkas by the time the campaign ends.
Evelyn's only PAC supporter, Emily's List, has been quiet in recent days.
The national polling firm, Public Policy Polling, released the results of its poll of 1,141 likely Democrat primary voters in New York’s 17thCongressional District, taken via phone and textover June 15-16, 2020.
These results will make Mondaire Jones and his supporters very happy and even confident:
David Buchwald .............................................. 8%
David Carlucci................................................ 11%
Asha Castleberry-Hernandez......................... 3%
Evelyn Farkas................................................. 14%
Allison Fine .................................................. . 2%
Mondaire Jones .............................................25%
Adam Schleifer............................................... 14%
Not sure .......................................................... 24%
Significantly for Mondaire Jones, his lead over Farkas and Schleifer (tied for second) is outside of the margin of error of 2.9% . But 24% remain undecided. Full poll results here. www.greenburghdems.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/NYCD17Results.pdf
Some loose ends with eight days**** to go.
Mondaire Jones is the beneficiary today of a $72,500 contribution from the End Citizens United PAC with $65,000 of that going to Sage Media Planning & Placement for "media buy" and $7500 to Silversmith Strategies for "production estimate," whatever that means. This PAC tends to give to Democratic incumbents, and is also very focused this year on defeating Sen. Susan Collins, so it's interesting that they picked out Mondaire Jones in CD17 - maybe the NY Times endorsement is literally paying off for Mondaire? Can anyone identify another PAC that supports both Mondaire Jones and Elliot Engel?
Speaking of the the New York Times, the "newspaper of record" is working on an article about the CD17 race.
If you are reading this, you'll also be interested in the recent The New Yorker radio hour: in the second segment from this week's podcast, Eric Lach talks about his recent article on the CD17 campaign and has some great quotes from our maester of local politics, Barrett Seaman.
The Yonkers Times, which previously published a hit piece on Mondaire Jones, bizarrely posted and then quickly took down an attack on Evelyn Farkas and her defense industry/government connections which seemed largely lifted from the The Intercept attack from a few weeks ago. Yonkers isn't in CD17, so I'm not sure why they are making their platform available for such things
Mark Lungariello at the Journal News has a story on campaign finances, much of which we covered here. Mark is a real, professional reporter (not a lazy blogger) and gets some good quotes from the candidates, with most attacking Schleifer's spending and Schleifer singling out Farkas for return fire. It is interesting to me that the only two candidates who have actually won elections, Carlucci and Buchwald, declined this opportunity to attack their rivals.
Residents have been getting robocalls from George Latimer on behalf of David Buchwald.
The inestimable Barrett Seaman gives us a valuable guide to the mechanics of voting in this very confusing primary over at the Hudson Independent. Casting your ballot should be so easy, but it's always so complicated.
**** Anyone really believe we'll have a definitive decision on June 24? Want to start a betting pool on when we'll have the winner officially declared? I'm claiming July 6. We'll think of an appropriate prize for the winner,. Maybe a complete leather bound collection of Adam Schleifer flyers - both volumes?
The candidates' recent FEC filings tell us about their spending through June 3, 2020. The spending numbers are startling, because of their imbalance. The "previous" column is spending through the close of March 2020. 2Q measures spending from April 1 through June 3. "Total" is the two numbers combined.
To make the totals more closely reflect reality, I've added in the outside Super PAC money that has been spent on behalf of Farkas and Jones that I mentioned in the previous post. If you look closely at recent mailings from both candidates, you'll see that some have been paid for by these PACs. I've also left in the "in kind" expenditures which are not very substantial at this point.
The glaring takeaway is that since the beginning of April and through June 3, Adam Schleifer spent more than all other candidates combined. Looking at all spending to date in the campaign through June 3 (excluding Nita Lowey), Schleifer has similarly exceeded all his competitors. Among all candidates, of any party, in all of New York's 27 congressional districts, Schlelfer's spending is exceeded only by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has spent $6,157,923 for her primary and he is followed most closely by Republican Elise Stefanik running unchallenged in NY's 21st district where she has spent $3,256,047. Unlike Schleifer, however, both Congresswomen are cash raising talents who haven't needed to donate or loan their own money to their campaigns. A few other candidates (Hakeem Jeffries, Carolyn Maloney, Lee Zeldin) are hovering around $2,000,000 in spending, although in these other races I'm not adding in Super PAC money which might be substantial in a few.
How do you spend $3,275,608 on a campaign in just over two months? Actually, I think this total on the FEC summary is underreported by $100,730 when I add up the individual expenses using the excel file provided by the campaign, but maybe I'm misunderstanding the raw numbers. Schleifer's biggest expenses by far are payments to SKD Knickerbocker in the amount of $2,468,112 for "media buy." Also on the subject of media, Schleifer paid media consultant firm Berlin Rosen $486,777. The next biggest expense was payroll and associated expenses in the amount of $247,541. The remaining really big item was polling for $85,130 from Anzalone Liszt Grove Research Inc. Again, this spending is for April 1 through June 3 only.
The candidates filed their financial reports with the FEC for March through June 3, which means it's time to review who raised, and who really raised.
First: This table reports "All Money Received" - this is everything the candidates brought home, including loans, gifts from dad, mom and spouses, itemized contributions reported after 6/3, PACs and even Super PACs money that the FEC does not record as contributions. This is all the money flowing around in this campaign to date that I can find, including a Super PAC donation on behalf of Mondaire Jones I learned about tonight.
In All Money Received, Schleifer is killing it in both the second quarter of 2020 as well as the campaign to date. But how much of this is money actually raised by the candidate from third parties? To find the "Real Money" received by the candidate, I'm taking out candidate contributions, candidate loans, contributions from immediate family members, refunds and rebates added back into revenue. I think "Real Money" is a more accurate measure of a candidate's appeal.
With "Real" fundraising we see the impact of the personal contributions of Schleifer and, to a lesser degree, Buchwald. The "All Money Received' leader falls from 54% in 2Q to 4% when counting just "Real" fundraising, and from 48% overall to just 10% - a distant third behind Farkas and Jones. Real fundraising also reveals that, as of 2Q 2020, Buchwald is also basically self-funding his campaign.
Note: I'm including "Super Pac" money in Real Fundraising 2Q and Total columns, even though this money is not otherwise counted by the FEC as fundraising receipts. This category, as I'm using it, applies to money allocated by PACs to third party vendors for benefit of the candidate, but never actually going directly to the candidate's campaign account. Evelyn Farkas's Super Pac total of $274,741 comes entirely from Emily's List's Women Vote! Pac, with some of these funds earmarked for opposition to Adam Schleifer.
Mondare Jones's outside PAC help comes from the Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC ($134,642), the new and mysterious Fight for the American Dream PAC ($116,174) and The Collective Super PAC ($6923).
Some campaigns like to boast about their small donor or "grassroots" donor appeal. Small donations are not very consequential in this race. The total of small donations (from donors who cumulatively donate less than $200 per campaign cycle) is $554,946 which is 12% of "Real" donations or just 6% of All Money Received.
Jones is in first place but that lead is attributable to the $52,525 in small money donations he raised in the 3Q 2019 before the other candidates entered the race. Farkas has a small lead over Jones in small money since she entered the race.
Next we'll look at spending