Top candidates fail to get matching funds
The two Democrats vying for mayor and the front-runner for public advocate didn’t raise enough money to qualify for public matching funds, the city Campaign Finance Board announced Thursday.
Neither City Comptroller Bill Thompson nor Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) raised the $250,000 towards matching funds that is required to receive the six-to-one match.
The next filing deadline is Aug. 14. The current cycle included donations made through July 11.
The winner of the Democratic primary will face Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a self-financed billionaire who has already spent $36 million and has opted out of public financing.
Mark Green, the former public advocate seeking the Democratic nomination to run for his old post, failed to reach the $125,000 threshold for that office.
His finance director, Alyson Grant, said the campaign expects to qualify in the next round.
“We’ve been working very diligently,” she said.
The thresholds don’t represent the total amount raised – Thompson has raised nearly $4 million. Candidates can only count the first $175 of each contribution from a New York City resident towards their matching total.
Thompson submitted just over $251,000 in matching claims but an audit disqualified some of those contributions.
“It’s not incurable,” said Eric Friedman, a spokesman for the campaign board. “The paperwork isn’t there but it could be.”
Aella’s chief of staff, Mariah Craven said it was “troubling” that neither Democratic mayoral candidate qualified.
“The public financing program exists to level the playing field and the Campaign Finance Board needs to look into the reasons why it’s not doing that effectively.”
Thompson’s campaign declined to comment.