New York City mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio is far ahead of his rival Joe Lhota in both the polls and in fundraising totals as their campaigns enter the final days.
De Blasio, a Democrat and the public advocate, raised a robust $3.7 million over the last weeks, according to a campaign staffer who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publically about fundraising.
That total, $1 million of which was raised in a single event with former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, dwarfs the approximately $700,000 Lhota raised during the entire three-week period.
Lhota’s total was revealed by a GOP campaign staffer who was also not authorized to speak publically about fundraising. The staffer said the Republican’s totals were still being tabulated ahead of the city’s Campaign Finance Board disclosure deadline late Friday.
De Blasio’s fundraising effort far surpassed the $793,000 he raised in the previous three weeks. His campaign now has $1.25 million cash on hand as the campaign enters its final days, according to the Democratic staffer.
Lhota’s campaign’s cash on hand was not immediately available.
At the last disclosure deadline, de Blasio had $1.15 million cash on hand as opposed to Lhota’s $787,000. Lhota has struggled with sluggish fundraising in part because traditionally Republican-friendly industries like Wall Street and real estate have been leery of alienating de Blasio, the overwhelming favorite.
However, the race’s financial playing field may have changed this week after a federal appeals court handed a victory to one of Lhota’s backers.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that individuals can contribute more than $150,000 to New York Progress and Protection PAC, reversing a lower-court ruling denying the so-called super PAC’s effort to bar state election officials from enforcing the cap.
The three-judge panel agreed with the group’s argument that the $150,000 per-year cap on donations violated the political action committee’s First Amendment right to advocate for Lhota.
The de Blasio campaigned condemned the ruling, but a union-funded PAC supporting the Democrat announced Friday that it would be spending more than $1 million to fund an ad attacking Lhota. The conservative PAC has also pledged significant expenditures.
De Blasio has a lead of more than 40 points over Lhota in every poll conducted since the primary. The general election is Nov. 5.