The Data for Progress poll released on June 3 showed Mondaire Jone at 12%. Ironically, skepticism toward the poll came from other candidates. After all, DFP is a progressive political advocacy group whose leadership openly supported Mondaire Jones. Jones's polling number - as well as other candidates' numbers - in the DFP poll, however was consistent with private polling leaked by other campaigns prior to June. The next data point came with the release of the Public Policy Polling (PPP) poll on June 16, showing that Jones had leaped ahead of the other candidates to 24%. Once again, this poll was dismissed as biased by other campaigns. Yet, the other candidates' PPP numbers remained consistent with the DFP poll, the only substantive difference being the decline in unsure voters from 38% to 24%, and the corresponding rise of Mondaire by 13%. A third data point came with the actual primary day voting on June 23. During the week between completion of the PPP poll and primary day, Jones had rocketed to 44% among primary day voters. But of the 78,246 voters in the CD17 Democratic primary, only 42% voted on primary day. Nine percent voted early at polling places from June 13 to June 21. The remaining 50% of votes were mailed in as absentee ballots beginning in mid-May and as late as June 22. The horizontal bars on the chart below attempt to depict each candidate's comparative support in the early voting and absentee phases as well as the changes from the DFP to PPP poll to primary day voting. [NOTE: to try to make the chart somewhat comprehensible, I'm only including the candidates who polled above 5%].
Here are the spending totals for the campaigns, including SuperPAC spending (which impacts Jones and Farkas) and subtracting out refunds to donors.
Schleifer led in spending in June, as expected, but Mondaire Jones's outside SuperPAC friends brought spending on his behalf nearly even with Adam. To put this SuperPAC money in context, Jones benefitted from more outside PAC money than all NY congressional candidates with the exceptions of our neighbors in NY16 where a staggering amount of outside PAC funds flowed: Elliott Engel ($1,728,832) and Jamaal Bowman ($1,868,020). [Source: Open Secrets, which comes up with a higher number of $576,879 for Mondaire's outside PAC money than I can find: $545,085.]
The most astounding spending number, however, is Adam Schleifer's total. Fundraising grandmaster AOC was the only NY Congressional primary candidate to outspend Schleifer, who spent about $10,250,000 on her primary race. The only other New York candidates to top $4mil in spending were, again, our NY16 neighbors. With their outside PAC money, Jamaal Bowman spent $4,044,429 and Eliot Engel spent $4,495,849.
Now, the number you've been waiting for: per vote spending:
Again, I'm including outside PAC spending for Jones and Farkas, so you might see lower $/vote numbers for them elsewhere. Schleifer's number is extraordinary and maybe even unprecedented. I can't find any other examples of serious primary candidates spending anything close to $400 per vote, not even Mike Bloomberg in his presidential and mayoral campaigns. Can anyone cite examples of candidates who received 10,000 votes in an election who spent at least $400 per vote? Look at that Mondaire Jones $/vote numbers. Along with Mondaire's stunning victory, that $65/vote spending efficiency belongs at the top of Charlie Blaettler resume (although I'm sure he'll argue that it's really $48/vote without the outside PAC money).
The candidates have filed their FEC financials for June. Let's start with the money raised numbers. 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 funds spent by Super PACs that the FEC does not record as contributions.
WIth "real fundraising", we'll take out loans from the candidates, family gifts, refunds, etc.
The difference between "All money raised" and "Real fundraising" in June was Buchwald's $56,742 loan to his campaign, and Schleifer's....[drumroll] $1,230,000 late loan. In light of Schleifer's dismal 5th place showing in fundraising, his decision to throw so much late money into the campaign looks very dubious.
Mondaire Jone's SuperPAC gifts are entirely included in his June numbers, but Evelyn Farkas actually received $97,108 of her $274,741 SuperPAC money before June 4. The SuperPAC money is broken out below. Again, none of this SuperPAC outside money is included in the candidates' FEC filings. A number of PACs, however, also made direct contributions to each of the campaigns which are included in the FEC filings (again led by Mondaire Jones receiving $86,300 in direct PAC donations to his campaign).
A sign that Mondaire-mania was igniting in June came with the unitemized "small" donations (from donors who cumulatively donate less than $200 per campaign cycle). Previously I had been skeptical about the claim from some Jones's supporters that this campaign was "grassroots" based. While his small donations numbers had been solid and led all candidates, he actually was second to Evelyn Farkas in small donations from the time she entered the campaign in late 2019 through the beginning of June. In June, however, that changed dramatically:
Small donations were still not particularly significant - they comprised just 18% of "Real fundraising" - but the overwhelming success of Mondaire Jones in gaining small donations (86%! of the total) in June is a good indication about how the campaign was transformed in the closing three weeks. Just as Jones was attracting the interest of lots of small money donors in June, he was similarly drawing the support of voters as his standing leapt from 12% in the June 3 Jones-allied Data for Progress poll to 42% in the only poll that matters - the June 23 primary.
Next: Spending and the ever fascinating $/vote numbers!
Rockland County has released official results. Westchester County has posted an updated "unofficial" tally, but the breakdown from the Board of Elections appears rather close to completion. I can't imagine there will be any further substantive changes. At long last, 24 days after the primary, here are the numbers:
1. Look at that turnout: 78,246: this surpasses the 77,168 voters in the 2016 presidential primary between Clinton and Sanders (although not in turnout percentage) and far ahead of the 2018 governor/AG primary with 63,334. And all this in a June primary!
2. Mondaire Jones dominated the primary. Although he got "only" 42%, he lapped the crowded field. Jones won every town and city except New Castle/Chappaqua (Farkas), North Castle (Buchwald) and Ramapo (Schleifer), where he placed second in each. He won most towns by wide margins.
3. Carlucci's 2018 primary voters abandoned him in startling numbers. While Carlucci got 13,066 (54%) primary votes in his victory less than two years ago, Senate District 38 voters gave him only 6,685 (21%) this time with much higher turnout in S38 (31,861 v. 24,240).
Next post we'll start looking at the final money numbers.
CD17 Turnout (so far):
Early and Primary Day Voting 18,309* 16,906
Absentee Ballots Received 29,157 (6/30) 15,821 (6/25)
County Total 47,466 32,727
TURNOUT TOTAL: 80,193
This total may vary a bit as voters who sent in absentees and also voted early or on primary day find their double votes subtracted. It's also possible some more absentee ballots will be logged. Still, we'll probably stay close to that 80,000 total level. To put this extraordinary number in context, in the September 2018 Democratic primary - featuring contested races for governor and attorney general, as well as a battle in Senate District 38 between David Carlucci and Julie Goldberg - the total Democratic primary vote within CD17 was 63,334. The June 2020 primary will likely also exceed the April 2016 Presidential primary between Clinton and Sanders when the total was 77,168.
Mondaire Jones's early voting/primary day landslide is so imposing that even with just 44% of the votes counted, if Jones receives just 25% of the absentee voting, Adam Schleifer will need nearly 60% of the remaining vote to put even. That's not happening.
These absentee numbers were obtained by FOIL requests to the county Boards of Election.
Some self-described experts had assured us that 50,000 primary votes would be the safe call here and that 60,000 votes would be historic.
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.