Mayor Bill de Blasio may claim he’s not paying attention to a crowded City Council race in eastern Queens, but a political action committee tied to the mayor spent about $24,000 to help his former aide win next week.
New Yorkers for Progress spent the cash on campaign mailers for Rebecca Lynch, a former City Hall staffer, according to a filing with the Campaign Finance Board. The treasurer of the group is Sam Nagourney, the finance director of Mr. de Blasio’s campaign committee. Mr. Nagourney is a consultant with Hilltop Public Solutions, the firm that employs Bill Hyers, Mr. de Blasio’s 2013 campaign manager, and Rebecca Katz, a former de Blasio administration staffer.
The mailers, which cost a total of $24,690, feature photographs of Ms. Lynch and a quick summary of her campaign platform. New Yorkers for Progress can spend an unlimited amount of money on Ms. Lynch as long as it does not coordinate directly with her campaign.
Once an outside group spends $5,000 or more they are required to disclose all contributors who gave $1,000 or more, according to the CFB. New Yorkers for Progress is backed by labor unions who endorsed Ms. Lynch. PAC’s tied to the Hotel Trades Council, 32BJ SEIU and Communication Workers of Americas contributed $15,000, $10,000 and $5,000 respectively.
A similar de Blasio-tied political action committee, New York Progress, spent more than $1 million opposing Joe Lhota, Mr. de Blasio’s Republican opponent in 2013.
While the outside spending on Ms. Lynch, who did not return a request for comment, can certainly boost her campaign, it also comes with risks. Mr. de Blasio, a proud liberal, is not very popular in the open eastern Queens seat, and at least one of Ms. Lynch’s primary opponents, Bob Friedrich, has attacked her for her closeness to the de Blasio administration. Ms. Lynch has not shied away from touting her City Hall experience on the campaign trail, but she admitted in a televised debate last week there’s a “perception” the mayor doesn’t care about Queens neighborhoods.
The Democratic primary will be held September 10. The winner will face Republican Joseph Concannon, a retired NYPD detective.