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Lhota Raises Big Money with Big Checks

Friday, March 15, 2013

In the first two months of his campaign for mayor, Republican Joe Lhota raised $729,987, according to records filed Friday with the city Campaign Fiance Board. Lhota, the former MTA Chairman, listed his occupation as “unemployed” on the filing, but his campaign got a boost from his former colleagues at Cablevision and in the Giuliani administration, as well as real estate interests.

These are Lhota's first campaign filings since entering the mayoral race in mid-January. Eighty-five percent of Lhota’s total was raised with checks of $1000 or more. Lhota's reliance on big donations means that most of that money will not be eligible for the 6 to 1 match from the city's public campaign financing system, which applies to donations up to $175 from New Yorkers. Just $58,688 of Lhota’s overall haul is eligible for the public matching funds, but he needs to raise at least $250,000 in matchable funds to qualify.

Lhota received the maximum $4,950 donation from former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone, and Michael Mukasey, George W. Bush's final Attorney General. Fourteen Cablevision employees gave to the campaign, including CEO James Dolan, and his son, Madison Square Garden director Charles P. Dolan. So did more than a dozen former high-level Giuliani administration veterans.

Emma Bloomberg, the daughter of Mayor Michael Bloomberg who works at the Robin Hood Foundation, donated $1000 to Lhota’s campaign. 

Lhota faces a deep-pocketed opponent in the Republican primary. Grocery billionaire John Catsimatidis has loaned his campaign a million dollars, and has already spent more than 100-thousand dollars on radio ads and robocalls.

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