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Democratic mayoral race: "Show me the money"

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn

Quinn leads in contributions. How much has your favorite candidate raised?

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

If the Democratic mayoral primary was decided solely on money and the number of supporters among the city’s business and political elites, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn would be the sure winner.

As far as second place is concerned,  former Comptroller William Thompson Jr. also has a large number of high-powered supporters, but former Brooklyn-Queens Congressman Anthony Weiner is second in terms of cash (“Carlos Danger” notwithstanding).

These are some of the findings obtained from the online database of the Campaign Finance Board, a nonpartisan city agency whose board contains representatives of both major political parties.

First in alphabetical order, but last in financial contributions, is former Bay Ridge Councilman Sal Albanese. Albanese is widely admired, even among supporters of other candidates, but as of Tuesday he had raised only $166,232.

Most of Albanese’s contributors donated between $10 and $250, and their occupations are strictly working and middle-class: listed as teachers, retirees, police officers, technicians, self-employed lawyers, retail managers, accountants. Many large families are represented (including the Albanese family), with several family members making individual contributions.

Next in alphabetical order is Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, another Brooklynite, who had raised $4,092,078. De Blasio’s contributors are mixed demographically, but on the whole are slightly more “upscale” -- architects, attorneys, doctors, students, artists, retirees, administrators of various institutions.

De Blasio has plenty of supporters who contributed in the hundreds, but also quite a few who contributed $1,000 or $2,000. This writer noticed the names of several supporters who are prominent in Brooklyn, including bookstore owner Henry Zook; Anthony Yang-Lewis, president of the Cobble Hill Health Center; and businesswoman Dolly Williams.

City Comptroller John Liu is next in order.  His fundraising total as of Tuesday was $3,389,376. Among his contributors are self-employed businesspeople, restaurant employees, computer prorgrammers, pharmacists, real esate brokers, people employed in the construction industry and limo drivers. Most of their contributions are in the low hundreds.

Liu has a heavy contingent of Brooklyn contributors. Overall, Asian-Americans and Middle Eastern-Americans make up a very large percentage of his supporters. These groups are gaining prominence in the city and will be increasingly heard from in the future.

If you want a mayor who is firmly tied in with the city’s business, cultural and political establishment, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn with $7,525,538 is your choice. Her list of contributors includes high-level employees of Time Warner, Extell Development, the Dance Theater of Harlem, Pfizer, Martha Stewart, Brookfield Asset Management, Corcoran Real Estate, the Actor’s Fund, Deutsche Bank, the Kaye Scholer law firm – the list is huge.

Of course, many smaller-scale contributors also have contributed to the Quinn campaign. The bulk of her donors hail from Manhattan, with others from upscale suburbs.

Businessman Erick Salgado is the least-known of the Democratic mayoral hopefuls. He has raised $252,578, the second-lowest amount. Like Albanese’s supporters, many of Salgado’s donors are working-class and middle-class: drivers, restaurant employees, salespeople, self-employed accountants, nurses, managers and retirees. Salgado has many Brooklyn donors, including a large number of Russian-Americans.

Thompson, who ran against Mayor Bloomberg in 2009, is another Brooklyn resident and has raised $3,872,205. Among his contributors are people affiliated with the Museum of African Art, Warburg Realty, the City University of New York, Banco Popular, Extell Development, Turner Construction, the Museum of the City of New York and more, as well as many employees of smaller companies and government agencies.

Typical contributions range from about $100 to $2,500. Among Thompson’s Brooklyn donors are Councilwoman Letitia James and Michael Weiss, former head of the MetroTech BID.

Finally, we have Weiner, who has raised $5,668,191. At least half of Weiner’s contributions were more than $1,000, and his donors included attorneys, real estate firms and small businesspeople. Many of them are also from Brooklyn, as one would excpect from a former Brooklyn official.

July 25, 2013 - 4:00pm


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