Weiner's top fundraiser is wife Abedin

Anthony Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin, exit Anthony Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin, exit a cab in front of their Park Avenue South apartment building in Manhattan. Anthony Weiner says he will announce his decision to run for mayor of New York City in a "matter of days..." (May 15, 2013). Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

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Anthony Weiner has raised $828,886 since entering the New York City mayor's race, and his top fundraiser is his wife, Huma Abedin, according to campaign finance data released Monday.

Abedin, the Hillary Clinton aide who has stood by Weiner after the scandal that cost him his seat in Congress, raised $149,440 as an intermediary, or bundler, according to the report filed with the city Campaign Finance Board for the period from May 12 to July 11.

Donors rounded up by Abedin included Washington figures such as lawyer Robert Barnett, who gave $1,000.

Weiner's fundraising effort was his first since the scandal. He had raised $5.1 million for city races before his 23-month political exile.

Weiner's strong showing in the polls "may have encouraged donors," said Michael Krasner, Queens College associate professor of political science.

Other than Weiner's wife, his biggest bundler is Harvinder Singh, chief executive of Bolla Management Corp., a Nassau-based owner of gas stations, convenience stores and car washes across the metropolitan area, who helped raise $27,450. Also helping are real-estate development heavyweights Jed Walentas of Two Trees Management, who bundled $7,500, and David Kuperberg of Cooper Square Realty, who helped raise $19,850.

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A smaller contributor was Eugene Podokshik, 33, an insurance broker from the Mill Basin section of Brooklyn who gave $175. He said he has been a Weiner fan since he saw the then-councilman address his graduating class at Edward R. Morrow High School in 1997.

"He's going to think of the people, and he's a good person, and everybody makes mistakes," Podokshik said. "If he worked it out with his wife, then good for him."

Meanwhile, Eliot Spitzer's late entry into the Democratic primary race for city comptroller was followed by a surge in contributions to his opponent, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, according to Stringer's campaign.

In the last two-month period, Stringer raised $150,778, according to a campaign statement. Of that, spokeswoman Audrey Gelman said, $110,461 came in the last four days -- 73 percent the total. The former governor announced July 7 that he would challenge Stringer.

"We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of grassroots support our campaign has received in the last week," Stringer's campaign manager, Sascha Owen, said in a statement.

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Stringer's late contributions included at least $24,550 in union cash, with donors including the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators and from 32BJ SEIU, the building service workers, according to CFB data. He also received $2,950 from the Partnership for New York City, a top business group.

Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a mayoral candidate, raised $463,300 in the two months to add to almost $7.2 million donated previously. Figures for former Comptroller William Thompson's campaign said it had raised more than $600,000.

Under the city's financing program that awards each dollar a city resident gives up to $175 with $6 in public funds, Stringer effectively improved his treasury by $245,194 during the period. His spokeswoman says he will have raised $4.7 million, including public matching funds due next month, since the campaign began.

Spitzer is paying for his campaign from his family real estate fortune and not participating in the public system.

Stringer on Monday called on Spitzer to voluntarily agree to a $4 million spending cap. He criticized Spitzer's "hypocrisy" for self-financing his campaign even though he endorsed public financing as a governor.

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Spitzer shot back in a statement that he has "not been able to spend years raising money from the special interests."

In the Republican mayoral primary, Joe Lhota pulled in more than $500,000 during the latest fundraising period -- barely more than half what his leading Republican competitor, billionaire John Catsimatidis, pumped into his own campaign over the same time frame.

Lhota, a former deputy mayor for Rudy Giuliani, had enough small donors to unlock $1.5 million in matching funds, said his spokeswoman, Jessica Proud.

Catsimatidis plans to outspend the other GOP candidates, putting up as much as $1 million a month going into the primary, his spokesman Rob Ryan said. "We're spending the money it's going to take to win the race, plain and simple," Ryan said.

With Matt Clark

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