Campaign finance reports filed last week shows Andre Sayegh, 6th Ward councilman, leading the pack with $190,885 in campaign cash followed by Jose “Joey” Torres, former two-term mayor, with $173,205.
Sayegh’s biggest donors were Jersey City Democratic Committee which donated $8,200; Stephen Sweeney, state senate president, a Democrat from Gloucester County, who contributed $7,200; and a Springfield based heavy equipment operators’ union, Operating Engineers Local 825, contributed the second biggest donation in the report: $8,200, according to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) report.
Torres’ largest contributions consist of several $2,500 contributions from individuals, including a contribution of $2,600 from the owner of Super Supermarket on West Broadway.
The former mayor has spent a large chunk of that money paying for advertising, signs, and campaign workers. Two of his biggest expenses were for catering at the Brownstone which cost $10,744 and a survey by National Research of Holmdel for $7,000, according to the report.
Torres has a closing balance of $52,445.
The council president has expended a decent amount, $12,200, in the completion of opinion polls using the Gallowglass Group, a polling company based out of Woodridge. Sayegh spent a large portion of his money paying consultants and printing election signs. His largest expense, a get-out-the-vote effort worth $30,000, according to the report.
Sayegh has a closing balance of $85,491.
Other candidates have said they are in the process of filing their report.
Aslon Goow, former 2nd Ward councilman, said his campaign is preparing to file. He estimates a campaign war chest of $30,000. “We’re finishing it up now as we speak,” said Goow of his finance report.
When asked to estimate how much he has off the top of his head, Goow said, “I think somewhere around 30-35 thousand something like that.”
Goow commented on Torres’ low numbers stating, “Torres is not making as much as he used to.”
David Gilmore, city activist, said he has about $10,000. “We just started raising money not too long ago,” said Gilmore. “I’m not a traditional politician, I didn’t have a campaign until we were certified. I didn’t ask anybody for anything until we were certified.”
Gilmore said he has begun collecting checks that will be reported in his next campaign finance report. “Up until then, I wasn’t making false promises and taking peoples’ money,” said Gilmore.
Donna Nelson-Ivy, director of the city’s health department, has $12,524 in her campaign coffers, according to report filed by her campaign.
Jeffery Jones, incumbent mayor, said his campaign has already filed a report, but did not mention an estimated amount he has in his campaign account, saying, “I’m not going to put that out there, once the finance report comes out, it comes out.”
The mayor said he has until election day to raise a great deal of money. Jones’ report was not available. “I got now until election day to raise a whole lot of money,” said Jones.
Rigo Rodriguez, councilman at-large, said he would get back with the amount he has in his campaign account.
“We’re submitting that today, I believe,” said Rodriguez of his report. Rodriguez alluded to Jones’ 2010 campaign where he managed to beat Torres using a shoe-string campaign budget: $73,000 against Torres’ $1 million.
Rodriguez said money helps to intimidate people, but does not always win elections. “They’re confused, and it’s not a money thing right now.” Rodriguez predicts low turnout on election day as a result voters being confused.
Maria Teresa Feliciano, retired supervisor of the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Crimes Unit, had $48,228 the last time she filed; however, her 29-days-pre-election report was not available. Neither Feliciano nor her campaign manager Juan Jimenez could be reached for comments. Feliciano’s last report showed a loan received by her campaign for $20,000.
Feliciano estimates she has $69,000 in her war chest.
The city’s police union appears to be hedging its bet by donating to every election campaign: $800 to Nelson-Ivy; $1,000 to Sayegh; $1,000 to Torres.
Goow questioned Sayegh’s two big donations from Democratic Party politicians. “I don’t understand why people from South Jersey and Jersey City are so interested in investing in Andre.”