Marte City Council Campaign Fights Back Against PAC Smear Ads

Posted on: June 17th, 2021 at 5:00 am by

Photo: Eddie Panta

As soon as early voting began last weekend, District 1 City Council candidate Christopher Marte found himself in the crosshairs of a series of attack ads launched by Common Sense NYC Inc., a Super PAC whose top three funders are Stephen Ross, Ronald Lauder, and Jack Cayre. While City Council campaign dollars are limited, Super PAC money from deep-pocketed real estate developers like these are virtually limitless.

Hoping to influence local elections, PACs like Common Sense NYC smear local candidates deemed anti-development progressives. In the Lower Manhattan, District 1 race, at least three mailers have been sent out to potential voters and posted on social media streams, all of which target Christopher Marte.

But Marte’s campaign team is already pushing back against these fear tactics by exposing the PAC’s donors and alternative motives with a new campaign poster and video.

The poster, as seen here on the corner of East Houston and Bowery urges local residents to “Show Ross Who’s Boss”

If there’s a silver lining here, it’s that these last-minute attack ads are a clear indicator that Chris Marte is the frontrunner in a Democratic primary race with eight candidates. But Marte isn’t alone in terms of City Council hopefuls finding themselves the target of scare tactics.

Photo: NYC Campaign Finance Board

The report lists monies spent to tarnish the image of local candidates who may be opposed to over-development as well as the de Blasio’s rezonings that they believe will lead to more displacement, gentrification, and the loss of small businesses around the city.

Marte, who has long since been on the forefront of community-based city planning, now finds himself bearing the brunt of that opposition, while the other seven in the race parse words and steer clear of the pending SoHo/NoHo Rezoning issue.

Meanwhile, Marte has been a fixture at Community Board land-use hearings for the Soho/Noho Rezoning, Lower East Side, Seaport, Chinatown and Little Italy, prior to the race to replace current, term-limited, City Councilmember Margaret Chin.

These PAC attack ads could easily backfire though, as it sets up Marte, not only as the clear frontrunner, but also as the candidate most willing to take on big real estate.

As far as Marte’s base of supporters, the image of Trump with developer Stephen Ross, serves as a tragic reminder of how important their votes really are. Marte’s razor thin loss back in 2017 came after Trump took the White House.

Now, four years later, these below-belt ads may just end up establishing Chris Marte as being the candidate on the forefront of long overdue change.

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