Lhota lags de Blasio in reaching matching funds cap
Republican candidate Joe Lhota would need to bring in more cash from donors in the final days before the election than he has during the entire mayoral race to fully fund his campaign under the city's spending caps, an analysis of fundraising data shows.
In contrast, Democrat Bill de Blasio appears to be within reach of the maximum. The money gap puts Lhota at further disadvantage, giving him less to spend on advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts as he tries to overcome a deficit of more than 40 percentage points in public opinion polls.
Assuming every one of Lhota's final claims in matching funds are approved -- and they rarely all are -- Lhota will have raised $2.67 million in donations and matching funds through Oct. 21 for the general election. But he would still need to raise $3.76 million before he can reach the city's $6.43 million cap.
Since declaring their candidacies, de Blasio has outraised Lhota 3 to 1 in private donations -- $9.45 million to $3.37 million. Those figures include money for the primaries.
De Blasio was only $975,000 away as of Oct. 21 from hitting the limit he can legally spend as a participant, like Lhota, in the city's matching funds program. He has brought in $5.4 million in donations and matching funds for the general election and has about $1.3 million in matching-fund claims pending from the latest three-week period, compared with $737,000 for Lhota.
The city's public financing system gives participating campaigns $6 for every $1 donated by a New York City resident up to the first $175.
Asked Saturday at a campaign stop in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, whether he still expects to reach the cap, Lhota said: "I'm doing everything I can to get there." Three weeks ago, Lhota predicted he would reach that goal.
Lhota spokeswoman Jessica Proud did not return messages for comment on the fundraising figures.
On Friday, Campaign Finance Board figures showed that de Blasio raised $3.7 million during the latest disclosure period of Oct. 1 to Oct. 21 -- more than five times as much cash as Lhota's total, $700,000.
During the primary season, Lhota's chief rival for the Republican nomination, billionaire John Catsimatidis, repeatedly questioned whether Lhota could raise enough money to challenge the Democratic nominee in a city where enrolled Democrats outnumber Republicans 6 to 1. Catsimatidis financed his campaign from his personal fortune.