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The Money Race in the Mayoral Primaries: May Filing Shows Cash on Hand for Final Month


cityhall monday photo

The road to City Hall (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)


NOTE: Since this article was published, candidates received additional public matching funds. Those sums do not change the information below in terms of number of donors, average contributions, in city/out of city fundraising, and spending. See the updated public funds and cash on hand numbers here.

With just under a month till primary election day, June 22, the Democratic mayoral candidates are beginning to pull out all the stops, dipping into the massive campaign war chests they have built to roll out ad buys and media campaigns. The candidates filed their latest campaign fundraising and expenditure filings with the Campaign Finance Board on Friday, showing how they have spent their money over the last two months and the resources they have left for the closing stretch of the race. 

The filings, covering the period from March 12 to May 17, will also determine the next round of payments made under the CFB’s voluntary public funds matching program on May 27. The program matches small dollar donations from eligible city residents at a rate of 8-to-1 under new campaign finance rules that come with a lower maximum contribution limit of $2,000. Candidates also had the choice to opt into the old system which provides a lower match of 6-to-1 but has a $5,100 individual contribution limit.

Six of the eight leading Democratic candidates for mayor chose the new system, while Shaun Donovan chose the old system, and Ray McGuire is the only one of the group not participating in the matching funds program at all, allowing him to take even larger individual donations. McGuire has by far the highest average contribution, having collected many maximum donations of $5,100 per person. His massive out-of-system fundraising has also increased the race’s spending limit for all candidates, allowing others to raise and spend more than previously expected, though some candidates are not quite able to reach the previous maximums.

Several of the candidates -- Eric Adams, Andrew Yang, and Scott Stringer -- have raised enough to receive the maximum amount of public funds for the primary, nearly $6.5 million for participants of the new program. 

McGuire, a former top Citigroup executive, has raised a total of $11.7 million for his campaign. In the latest filing period, he raised $2.3 million (including $1 million he gave his own campaign) and loaned him campaign another $2 million. His spending, however, has been just as profligate as his fundraising. He’s already expended $8.2 million, including $4.5 million since March 13, and has $3.4 million in cash on hand as of the filing, more than half of which is from his loan.

McGuire has received 7,290 contributions with an average contribution of $1,336. He has raised nearly $5.5 million from New York CIty residents and $4.2 million from outside the city. 

Yang, a former entrepreneur and presidential candidate, made a late entry into the race but has shown immense fundraising prowess. He has raised more than $3.5 million in private donations already, including $1.36 million in just the last two months, and his campaign says he is nearing the New York City mayoral race record for most individual contributions. Yang has also received another $3.8 million in public funds, for a total haul of $7.3 million. His campaign also claims another $360,118 in matching contributions from this latest filing period, which would bring in another $2.9 million in public funds, putting him past the payment limit. 

Yang has also spent a massive amount, more than $4.7 million in total, of which $3.9 million went out the door since March 13. He had just under $2.6 million in cash on hand as of the filing. A whopping 20,048 people contributed to his campaign, with an average donation of $175. He has raised about $1.65 million from outside the city and $1.84 million from city residents. 

Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, has raised more than $4.2 million in private funds, including just over $878,000 in the last two months. He has received $5.5 million in public funds already for a total of $9.75 million. After spending roughly $4.4 million, including $3.5 million since March 13, he has about $5.3 million left. His campaign also claims another $209,000 in matchable contributions since March 13.  

With 8,461 contributors, the average contribution to his campaign was $458. He has raised $2.7 million from within the city and $1.16 million from outside it.  

Stringer, the city comptroller whose campaign has been at least somewhat derailed by sexual misconduct allegations about incidents said to have occurred in 2001 that he has denied, has raised $3.7 million in private funds, including about $270,000 in the latest filing period. With another $5.3 million in public funds, his total fundraising reached just over $9 million. Stringer has already spent $5.5 million, including $4.2 million in the last two months alone, and had about $3.6 million in cash on hand as of the filing. His campaign estimates another $120,000 are matchable for public funds. 

Stringer’s campaign received an average of $285 from 8,101 donors as of the filing. He raised about $1.8 million from city residents and $511,000 from nonresidents. 

Maya Wiley, a civil rights attorney and former counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio, has raised $1.57 million in private funds, including about $533,000 in the latest filing period. She has also received nearly $2.9 million in public funds, for a total fundraising of about $4.4 million. She has spent about $3.4 million, including $2.6 million in the last two months. Her campaign claims another $215,000 in matchable contributions which could earn her another roughly $1.6 million in public funds. Wiley had about $1 million in cash on hand as of the filing. 

Wiley’s campaign has received 14,308 individual contributions, with an average donation of $110. She has raised just over $1 million from city residents and the remaining $545,000 from outside the city. 

Donovan, former federal housing secretary under President Obama and city housing commissioner under Mayor Bloomberg, has raised about $2.7 million in private donations, including just over $530,000 in the latest filing period, using the old matching system (which includes higher individual contribution limits and a maximum public funds payment of just over $4 million). He has already received $1.5 million in public funds, for a total of $4.2 million in fundraising as of the filing. His campaign estimates another roughly $60,000 are matchable, which would give him about $360,000 in additional public funds. 

Donovan has spent $2.3 million in total – more than $836,000 since March 13 – and has about $1.9 million left at the filing. He has 4,108 donors and an average contribution size of $666. He raised about $1.7 million from New York City donors and just over $1 million from outside the city. 

Former city sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia has raised about $1.25 million in private funds, with just over half, $661,000, coming in the last filing period. She has received more than $2.26 million in public funds, for a total of more than $3.5 million. She has spent just over $2 million, almost entirely since March 13, and has $1.5 million in cash on hand as of the filing. Her campaign claims another $303,000 in matchable contributions in that latest filing. 

The average contribution to Garcia’s campaign was $210, from 5,921 contributors. She raised just over $1 million from within the city and $191,000 from nonresidents.  

Former nonprofit executive Dianne Morales has raised about $844,000 in private funds, including about $296,000 since March 13. She has already received $2.24 million in public funds, for a total of nearly $3.1 million in fundraising. She has only spent about $702,000, including $414,000 in the latest filing period, and had just under $2.4 million in cash on hand at the filing. Her campaign estimated that an additional $196,000 in contributions would qualify for public funds.

Morales’ campaign had the lowest average contribution at just $78 coming from 10,841 donors. She raised more than $677,000 from city residents and $166,000 from nonresidents.

[Note: some of the above topline numbers have been updated based on an additional public matching funds allocation to the seven candidates other than McGuire -- see those numbers here.]

There is also a two-way Republican primary contest underway between Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa and businessman Fernando Mateo. But that race has garnered far less attention or campaign contributions. Both candidates are participating in the new campaign finance rules but neither has qualified for public funds yet.  

Mateo is leading with a $523,000 haul from 2,290 donors who gave an average of $228. He has spent about $144,000 and has $378,000 left. He raised $401,000 from inside the city and $121,000 from outside.  

Sliwa has raised just under $316,000 from 2,843 contributors with an average donation of $111. He has spent about $104,000 and has $211,000 in cash on hand. He has raised just under $200,000 from city residents and $116,000 from nonresidents.

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by Samar Khurshid, senior reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

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