Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president and Democratic nominee for mayor, took the unusual step in declining the latest round of public matching funds from the city Campaign Finance Board. His Republican opponent, Curtis Sliwa, meantime secured nearly $700,000 in public matching funds as the race enters its final stretch.
Adams’ decision comes as he continues to outperform Sliwa by millions of dollars as the campaign. While Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels, has roughly $4 million since entering the race, Adams has amassed a $19 million war chest and appears to continue building up his coffers.
“Eric’s fundraising has been extremely successful,” Evan Thies, a senior advisor and campaign spokesperson for Adams, told WNYC/Gothamist at a campaign rally on Thursday. “There’s no reason to spend taxpayer money for the campaign. We will instead self-fund.”
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Adams, who is considered the favorite in the race after defeating 11 candidates in the June Democratic primary, had raised $2 million in his latest filing covering August 24th through September 27th. But his name was not mentioned on Thursday when the CFB met virtually to announced the latest round of contributions made courtesy of the agency’s matching funds program, the most popular of which is the 8-to-1 program. Under that program, small-dollar donations are matched eight-fold.
Listen to David Cruz’s report on the latest filings on WNYC:
More than $3 million was distributed out in this most recent period. While Sliwa received a sizable chunk, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams—who is running for re-election as he also contemplates a run for governor—received the most funds with $959,000.
While Adams’ campaign claims to have raised $354,061 in this latest period, it’s unclear how much the CFB would have been actually matched since claims are subject to an audit.
With today’s announcement, Sliwa has over $1.8 million in cash on hand and Adams has over $7.5 million on hand.
Thies said the Brooklyn borough president’s funds will be earmarked for more television ads that will air ahead of the November 2nd general election. On Monday, Adams’ campaign released its first general election television ad, in which Adams deviated from his message on reducing crime to speaking about his late mother.
Campaign filings show he’s spent funds on TV, radio, and print ads and at least one billboard ad. Rob Cole, a campaign spokesperson for Sliwa, said more ads will be released.
Though both Sliwa and Adams have benefitted from 8-to-1 matching funds program to power their campaigns, Adams has leaned heavily toward receiving contributions from deep-pocketed donors after the primary. Over the summer, the NY Times reported Adams hit the wealthy donor circuit, attending fundraisers hosted by billionaires John Catsimatidis and former Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
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Even as he receives funding from wealthy donors, Adams has lamented on the current structure of campaigning, which often relies on intense fundraising to be viable. Throughout the campaign season, Adams has pressed for future city campaigns to be financed exclusively by the CFB.
“I would give back every dollar to raise in making hundreds of thousands of calls, doing fundraisers. No one enjoys this in politics,” Adams said during an appearance on the Brian Lehrer Show on Tuesday. “But right now, you do have to go up on television, which costs millions of dollars, radio ads, paying for a staff… that’s part of the process.”
Cole said the Sliwa campaign is running a grassroots operation, receiving an average contribution of over $100.
“We’re going to be the candidate of the people. And [Adams] is going to be a candidate of the lobbyists and hedge fund donors,” Cole said.
Elizabeth Kim contributed to this report.
(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)