Stringer’s Donors Give More Despite Sex-Harassment Claim
(Bloomberg) -- City Comptroller Scott Stringer raised 20% more for his mayoral campaign in the filing period ended May 17 compared with the previous two-month filing window, despite a sexual-harassment claim that roiled his run and cost him a number of major endorsements.
Stringer, who serves as the city’s chief financial officer, said he raised $270,000 in direct contributions and believed he’d be eligible for the maximum amount of public matching funds from the New York City Campaign Finance Board, or $6.5 million. The funds still have to be approved and disbursed by the finance board, which could take a number of days. Last filing period, he raised $224,000, of which $89,000 was eligible for matching funds.
The money haul is increasingly important in the crowded race for mayor, as more than half a dozen candidates ramp up television advertisements and other spending to reach voters ahead of the June 22 primary. The primary will be the first conducted via ranked choice, where voters list as many as five candidates in order of preference. The winner of the June 22 primary is heavily favored to become the next mayor of the overwhelmingly Democratic city.
About 15% of respondents said Stringer was their first choice in a poll released Monday by Emerson College and Pix11, on par with former presidential contender Andrew Yang, who had previously been leading the polls. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams led the race, with 18% among the 631 people polled from May 13-15. Stringer was ahead of Kathryn Garcia, the former city sanitation commissioner who received 8% and was recently endorsed by the New York Times.
The surge of support comes despite an accusation last month by a former campaign volunteer who accused Stringer of groping and sexually harassing her in 2001 during his campaign for public advocate. After the accusation surfaced by Jean Kim, the volunteer worker, Stringer’s campaign circulated a number of documents and issued statements accusing her of lying and questioning her motives. Kim has stood by her allegations while Stringer denies them and says theirs was a consensual relationship. The matter has since been referred to New York Attorney General Letitia James.
In the Emerson poll, 54% of respondents said they hadn’t heard of the allegations or that they were unsure as to whether they were true. Less than 20% of those polled said they thought the allegations were credible.
Yang’s campaign said it raised $1.4 million during the latest two-month filing period, with $309,000 in matchable donations. The city Campaign Finance Board has set a $10.9 million spending limit on the mayoral campaign, which Yang expects to hit, according to a campaign news release quoting its fundraising adviser, Anthony Mercurio. The campaign has spent more than $1.5 million on new television ads in the past two weeks and expects to spend more money on a get-out-the-vote effort. It reported a total of 21,137 donors, just shy of the the record set by former Mayor David Dinkins, who attracted 23,287 contributors in 1989, according to the news release.
Adams’ campaign said it has raised a total of more than $11 million, including $900,000 in the past two months that will translate into $1.6 million with the addition of public matching funds. That should be enough to net the campaign the maximum $6.5 million in public funds, and give it enough cash to spend $10.9 million, the maximum allowed this year. Adams has more than $7 million cash on hand, the campaign said in a news release.
Nonprofit executive Dianne Morales said she raised more than $255,000 in the filing period ended May 17. She said she had the most successful fund-raising day yet on Monday, taking in $50,000 in a 24-hour period. She said she hasn’t yet spent money on television advertising yet, a push she’ll begin next month to focus on the last few weeks of the race.
“This is anyone’s race still,” Morales said.
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