Highlights from the latest financial filings by 2021 candidates for mayor, comptroller, borough president and City Council in New York.
The race for comptroller has become a crowded affair over the past two months, and that’s brought a substantial amount of new money to what was already a fascinating race, campaign finance filings released this week show.
The latest round of reports to the Campaign Finance Board set the stage for next month’s payment of public funds and offer a look at how candidates are raising and spending money with less than 100 days until the June 22 primary.
Entrepreneur Zach Iscol shifted from the mayoral contest to the comptroller race in January and qualified for public financing last month. Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who ended his own mayoral campaign in September, brought a nest egg with him when he jumped into the comptroller fray last week.
Candidates who were already in the comptroller race also flexed their financial muscles over the past couple months. Assemblyman David Weprin just received his first dose of matching funds. Journalist Michelle Caruso-Cabrera out-raised everyone in the race, hauling in $520,000 since January. She and Sen. Kevin Parker are the only major candidates who raised more than they spent, although both lag the financial frontrunners substantially.
And Sen. Brian Benjamin narrowly raised more than Councilmember Brad Lander from mid-January to mid-March*.
Yet Lander still enjoys a roughly 2:1 advantage in cash-on-hand over Benjamin or anyone else. And it looks like Lander will get the biggest matching fund payment in April, as well—around $550,000 to Benjamin’s $367,500.
No one has raised more money in the mayoral race than former Citigroup executive Raymond McGuire. And no one has spent more, either. He’s laid out $3.7 million so far, well above the second-biggest spender, Shaun Donovan, whose campaign has so far cost $1.5 million.
Looking at just the last two months since the previous reporting period, McGuire’s $2.6 million in spending is three times what Andrew Yang spent—and that’s the closest anyone comes. About $1.2 million of McGuire’s recent outlay has been on ads. McGuire’s campaign also sent out $123,000 in refunds—including a full return of $10,000 that a retired actress from New Jersey who is the widow of a former U.S. ambassador. The contribution limit for a candidate like McGuire, who is not participating in public matching funds, is $5,100.
Yang and McGuire are the only two major mayoral candidates who have not used intermediaries, colloquially known as “bundlers,” to gather campaign cash. Scott Stringer has received the most money from intermediaries, $128,220, and has the biggest active intermediary, Robert Zimmerman from the public-relations firm Zimmerman-Edelson, who has gathered $26,000 for Stringer. Kathryn Garcia is second with $43,000 gathered by go-betweens.
McGuire has received the most support from outside the city—$2.6 million worth. Still, the majority of his donations (64 percent) come from the five boroughs. That’s true of all the candidates, but barely so for Yang. Garcia is the most NYC-centric, with only a fifth of her money coming from beyond the city limits.
Different kinds of donors
The average size of donations to McGuire ($1,222) is 16.5 times the average size of donations to Dianne Morales ($74).
|Candidate||Average Donation||Money from NYC||Money from Outside NYC||NYC Share|
They owe it to themselves
Mayoral candidate Sarah Tirschwell lent her campaign $300,000 last week—the largest loan any 2021 campaign has taken out so far. The second largest is the $125,000 that Assemblywoman Joanne Simon loaned her Brooklyn borough president campaign, where four candidates (Councilmember Robert Cornegy with $1 million, Simon with $728,000, Councilmember Antonio Reynoso with $619,000 and community activist Khari Edwards with $547,000) have more than half a million in the bank.
Cabrera solidifies his cash lead
With $572,000 in hand, Councilmember Fernando Cabrera has more in the bank than his two major rivals for Bronx borough president—Councilmember Vanessa Gibson and Assemblymember Nathalia Fernandez—combined, and the next round of public-funds payments is likely to pad that lead.
Dems raise more but trail mightily in SIBP money
Councilmember Steven Matteo maintains a very comfortable financial advantage in the race for Staten Island borough president; he’s got $614,000 on hand over his possible Republican primary opponent, business owner Letitica Remauro, who has $189,000. And both GOP candidates enjoy a big money lead over the Democrats in the race: Lorie Honor, Mark Murphy and Radhakrishna Mohan. But the two leading Dems did raise money at a faster clip: Murphy reported $60,000 intake in the last period, and Honor $36,000, compared with $20,000 and $19,000 for Remauro and Matteo, respectively.
The Democrats, of course, face historical as well as financial obstacles: There hasn’t been a Democratic borough president in Staten Island since Ed Koch was mayor. But the long layoff between the primary and general election in 2021 would, in theory, give whoever wins the Democratic primary a chance to raise some dough and some eyebrows. In theory.
Bronx Councilmember Mark Gjonaj has opted not to run for reelection, giving up the seat he won in 2013 after smashing spending records for Council races. Even though he has moved to the sidelines, Gjonaj remains the biggest spender of all the 2021 Council candidates citywide, having dropped $481,747 so far.
Right now, it doesn’t look like anyone will catch Gjonaj. The second biggest spender, Mercedes Narcisse in Council district 46, spent $148,990 to date. And the Council candidate with the most cash on hand, Erik Bottcher in district 3, has made $82,000 in outlays and has $218,000 to spend.
Read more on these 2021 races:
- Who’s Who in the Race for New York City Mayor
- Compt-Roller Derby: Who’s Running to Be the City’s No. 3?
- Republicans Vie for Staten Island BP Nod as Democratic Challenges Take Shape
*Clarification: While Benjamin did out-raise Lander $106,920 to $94,071 during the January 12 to March 11 period, Benjamin also had to refund $20,975 to donors and Lander only $4,071, so Lander did prevail in terms of net contributions, $90,000 to $85,945.