Bill de Blasio fundraising dwarfs Joe Lhota's

Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio greets supporters

Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio greets supporters after a rally for immigration reform with local politicians, community leaders and activists on the City Hall Steps in Manhattan. (Oct. 23, 2013) Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

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Democrat Bill de Blasio's fundraising haul in the first three weeks of October was more than five times that of Joe Lhota, his Republican rival in the New York mayoral race, according to the candidates' filings with the city's Campaign Finance Board.

The gap was a further sign that Lhota -- who has trailed de Blasio by more than 40 points in polls, including an amNewYork-News 12 survey this week -- faces long odds in the Nov. 5 election.

De Blasio raised $3.7 million, according to campaign filings. Lhota reported raising about $700,000 in the three-week period ended Oct. 21.

On just one night this week -- at a Manhattan fundraiser hosted by Hillary Clinton -- de Blasio took in $1 million.

Both campaigns are participating in the city's public-financing system -- which matches low-dollar donations up to $175 from city residents 6 to 1 -- , which sets a spending cap of $6.4 million each for the general election.Since the candidates won their parties' primaries on Sept. 10, independent groups have spent nearly 10 times more on behalf of de Blasio, $1.14 million, than they have on Lhota, the disclosures show.

Only one group, New Yorkers for Proven Leadership, funded in part by billionaire industrialist David Koch and his wife, spent money on Lhota during that time, a $125,000 television ad called "The Only Candidate."

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De Blasio, by contrast, has benefited from spending by several groups, mostly backed by labor unions. By far the biggest such outlay came from New York Progress, which disclosed yesterday that it was spending nearly $1 million to run an attack ad against Lhota.

The television ad, called "Tea," tries to tie Lhota to the Republican Party's tea party wing -- a comparison Lhota has angrily dismissed as untrue.

It's unclear whether Lhota will get a major boost from a federal appeals court ruling on Thursday that suspended a state law limiting an individual's contributions to independent groups to $150,000. The suit was filed by a Lhota supporter.

Lhota handed advertising ammo to de Blasio Friday during an MSNBC interview in which he said of income in-equality in the city: "I don't think it's a problem. You said, 'does it exist?' It exists. I don't think it's a problem. It exists."

Within hours, the de Blasio campaign posted an Internet ad with the "I don't think it's a problem" sound bite, overlaid with statistics about poor New Yorkers.

Lhota's campaign continues to run a controversial commercial in which he warns that a de Blasio mayoralty would return New York City to the crime and chaos that plagued the city from the 1970s through the early 1990s.

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