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2013 Mayoral Race

The Empire

How to know if someone is running for Mayor in 2013

Friday, December 16, 2011

The candidate will be able, in one sentence, to shove every campaign talking point and example of effective leadership into one sentence, regardless of the question. Like City Council Speaker Christine Quinn did earlier today on the Leonard Lopate Show. The topic, for what it's worth, is the city's food system:

Though I think a lot of the work were doing now in the council, whether it is to end fingerprinting for food stamps, whether it's recently having filed a lawsuit against a proposal to push homeless people in need out of the homeless system, or our efforts in FoodWorks and other places to try and create more jobs for New Yorkers at different economic and education levels, I hope speaks to the anger that came out of Occupy Wall Street in the way that we in government should be responding by putting in place policies that will put people to work in diverse industries and support new industries.

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The Empire

Liu's job approval numbers plummet

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Liu's future political forecast looks cloudy. (Colby Hamilton / WNYC)

The fundraising controversy surrounding City Comptroller John Liu has taken its toll, according to a new Quinnipiac poll. Only 38 percent of those New York City voters polled gave Liu the thumbs up--that's down from his high of 57 percent back in May.

While Liu's standing in the 2013 field doesn't appear to have changed--he's always been pulling single-digit support--voter's sense of his qualifications as mayor are dismal. Among the three citywide(-ish--Quinn wasn't technically elected citywide) Democrats potentially running in 2013--Speaker Christine Quinn, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, and Liu--46 percent of those polled said Liu would not make a good mayor. That's compared to 37 percent for Quinn and 22 percent for de Blasio.

“New York City Comptroller John Liu has been in the news a lot, in a bad way. All those negative stories about his fundraising have zapped his job-approval numbers,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, in the release. “And voters say almost 2-1 that he would not be a good mayor.

“City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio have OK job approval ratings, but voters don’t seem enchanted with the prospect of either elected official as mayor."

But don't take this as a sure sign Liu's 2013 ambitions are dead in the water. Looking at his job approval number details, he's still managing to receive the majority of Black voters and a plurality of Hispanic voters' support. In other words, the multi-racial coalition, backed by labor (there's been no indication the labor-backed Working Families Party has thr5own him under the bus, despite his current spat with Teamster Local president Gregory Floyd), hasn't broken up--at least not in the polls.

Of course, both groups gave Speaker Quinn higher marks, just reinforcing her position as the front runner.

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The Empire

All five potential NYC Mayoral candidates laud the tax reform package

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Council Speaker Christine Quinn:

I praise Governor Cuomo and the leaders of the Senate and Assembly for joining together to forge a strong and, most importantly fair plan, that will help close the budget gap and put our state in a better financial position.

Comptroller John Liu:

I applaud Governor Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Skelos, and Assembly Speaker Silver for their leadership on this important issue and look forward to reviewing the proposal further.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio:

By putting in place a fairer tax structure, Governor Cuomo and State legislative leaders have shown, in contrast to the gridlock in Washington, that by working together we can find solutions to the problems facing our state and nation.

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer:

I am gratified that New York state lawmakers worked together and agreed on a plan to boost our economy, unlike those in Washington D.C. who continue to be paralyzed by political gridlock.

2009 Democratic Mayoral candidate Bill Thompson:

I applaud the Governor and the legislature for their vision and leadership in making sure our state's tax structure is appropriately adjusted to meet these difficult financial times and support New York's economic recovery.

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The Empire

UPDATED: Did John Liu announce his candidacy for Mayor last night?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

[Scroll down for additional updates]

UPDATE 2:

Reuters is reporting, and WNYC's Bob Hennelly has confirmed through the Liu campaign's lawyer Martin Connor, that the special investigator Comptroller John Liu hired to review his campaign's troubled fundraising practices has quit.

According to reports, former New York State Attorney General Robert Abrams sent a letter to the campaign today that he was resigning, saying its request that he wait until a Federal probe into the campaign was over before investigating, "compromises my independence, and my ability to do a thorough and effective job."

Abrams was hired after a New York Times article pointed to major issues with the Comptroller's fundraising practices. Abrams was hired less than three weeks ago.

Connor was quoted by Reuters saying, "It really doesn't make sense to have two investigations to be going on at once, and it's terribly expensive, and I think the federal government has more than enough resources to get all the information that's needed and they have subpoena power, and Mr. Abrams doesn't."

---

That's what some people are wondering after an event in Greenpoint last night. The Chinese-language newspaper World Journal reported that at a fundraising event, the Comptroller reportedly told the crowd of about 80 people, "I've never felt this strong a will to run, I will run for New York City's top job!"

He went on to talk about the changes he would bring to City Hall and to discuss the growing inequality in the city. The announcement came at roughly the same time the man accused of making illegal contributions to his campaign was released from jail on a $100,000 bond.

Liu's campaign has not responded to a request for comment or confirmation. We will post updates as they come in.

UPDATE: John Liu's campaign spokesperson, Chung Seto, sent this message in response to requests for confirmation on the Comptroller's statements last night:

The World Journal headline is erroneous.

Indeed, Liu never said "I'm running for Mayor." But it's hard to see the thin line of daylight between running for Mayor and running for "New York City's top job!" We're still waiting for confirmation on the actual quotes from the event.

If they're confirmed, it will be an amazing statement on John Liu: at the very moment he became more embroiled in questions about his fundraising practices, Liu was in Brooklyn giving everyone in the room at a fundraiser reason to believe he's still running for Mayor.

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The Empire

New fundraising arrest raises more doubts about Liu's future

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The US District Attorney’s office in Manhattan today announced the arrest of another campaign donor who allegedly funneled illegal campaign funds into a 2013 mayoral contender John Liu's coffers. WNYC has confirmed through a Federal law enforcement source that the official in question is Comptroller Liu, who has been plagued by questions over irregular and potentially illegal fundraising activities.

Xing Wu “Oliver” Pan is accused of contributing $16,000--far beyond the legal contribution limit--to Liu’s 2013 campaign through 20 “straw donors.” The donations would have been matched six-to-one by the city’s campaign finance matching system had they not been caught.

“As alleged, Oliver Pan engaged in a deliberate and flagrant attempt to subvert the campaign finance laws and manipulate the City’s matching fund system,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.

“I am saddened by what I read today. If it is true then the conduct was clearly wrong and my campaign was not told the truth,” Liu said in response to the allegations, via a spokesperson.

With another allegation of financial impropriety coming forth, political insiders are beginning to question not only Liu’s 2013 mayoral aspirations, but his ability to function as the city’s fiscal steward.

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The Empire

A long Fall for Comptroller John Liu

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Liu's future political forecast looks cloudy. (Colby Hamilton / WNYC)

Standing next to the other city elected officials yesterday, New York City Comptroller John Liu didn't appear to be a man under siege. He was introduced by Working Families Party deputy director Bill Lipton at the press event before chastising the Mayor and lauding Occupy Wall Street.

But outside of the ring of liberal city officials and labor leaders, Comptroller Liu is facing serious questions about his fundraising activities, the likes of which could make his future political aspirations dead on arrival.

"We assume there will be a fair investigation of the allegations, and of course we would not comment on anything until that's done," said WFP spokesperson TJ Helmstetter. But it's uncertain how long political allies will be standing by Liu.

Liu's trouble really started back in July when a little-seen piece in Crain's pointed to some suspiciously large campaign contributions from supermarket workers. At the time, the Liu campaign pushed back, essentially suggesting the question was thinly-veiled racism, calling it "a ridiculous assumption."

But then the New York Times started poking into the campaign's finances. They found a number of major irregularities, including the possibility that some donors didn't even exist. Liu came on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show to defend his campaign, questioning how the Times conducted its reporting but vowing to get to the bottom of things. He later hired former New York State Attorney General Robert Adams to review his own fundraising efforts.

Earlier this week it was revealed that Federal authorities are now involved. Grand jury subpoenas have been issued to find out more information about a city contractor whose employees gave large donations to the campaign. The big question is whether or not that was their own money, or if funds were funneled through employees, which would potentially be a violation of Federal law.

Now, today, the Wall Street Journal is reporting more specifically that donations from donors connected to disgraced national Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu were not returned back in 2008

According to campaign records, Mr. Liu accepted a $500 donation from [actress Susan] Chilman on April 11, 2007. In the midst of the scandal surrounding Mr. Hsu, a number of politicians returned the contributions they received from Ms. Chilman, including Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and former Rep. Anthony Weiner. Mr. Liu did not.

In a recent interview with the Journal, Ms. Chilman said she isn't a supporter of Mr. Liu. She said she made the contribution solely at Mr. Hsu's behest and was reimbursed by him for it. "I don't know John Liu," she said.

The full extent of Mr. Hsu's influence on Mr. Liu's 2009 campaign is unknown, in part because Mr. Liu has yet to comply with city campaign finance laws that require the disclosure of bundlers, people such as Mr. Hsu who collect contributions for a political candidate from other people. Mr. Liu said he plans to disclose his bundlers but is awaiting the green light from the Campaign Finance Board; the board told the Journal on Tuesday that Mr. Liu is free to disclose immediately.

To add to this, the Comptroller's plan for a major overhaul of the city's pension system--announced alongside Mayor Michael Bloomberg--has come under fire since the plan was released.

How does all this add up for John Liu's mayoral ambitions?

"The mayoral race is out the window," said Hank Sheinkopf, a long-time Democratic political consultant. But Sheinkopf noted the question now is less about ambition and more about survival.

"The question is, can he run for reelection," Sheinkopf said. "If the revelations continue, that will also be very difficult because you can't have the city auditor audited by the federal prosecutor at the same time, with the potential for criminal indictment."

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The Empire

The first ad of the 2013 NYC mayoral campaign...

Monday, November 07, 2011

...is from Manhattan Media publisher Tom Allon. Not sure if he is legally required to approve the message, but, in case you had any doubt, he does.

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The Empire

The pension deal: What does John Liu walk away with?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Getty / Slaven Vlasic

Yesterday’s announcement that Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Comptroller John Liu had agreed to a major overhauling of how the city’s pension system would be run surprised many people. These two haven’t exactly seen eye-to-eye when it comes to pensions. And considering the fact that Liu wants the job currently occupied by Bloomberg, it’s worth looking at the deal a little further to see what Liu actually gets out of it.

First, what exactly did they agree to? The mayor’s and comptroller’s offices, along with labor leaders who’s members pay into the funds, agreed to push to have the city’s five separate funds brought under the control of one board, with an outside manager hired to run the whole thing.

I say “push” because the plan, which is being hailed as a financialboon to both city taxpayers and pensioners, has to clear major hurdles—like having the state legislature and the Governor sign off on the change, among other things—to clear before any changes would take effect.

That being said, the most interesting thing is that the agreement essentially strips the Comptroller’s office—this or future ones—of one of its main duties. There’s this line from the press release:

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The Empire

Quinn continues to lead 2013 Democratic field

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wanted to just break this out from the rest of the Quinnipiac results:

Regardless of who else is running, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn continues to lead all other rivals with Democratic voters. Among all voters, when added to the equation, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly remains at the top of the heap.

At this point, though, the 2013 polls remain mostly a name recognition game:

  • Police Commissioner Ray Kelly -- 25 percent, with 17 percent of Democrats;
  • City Council Speaker Christine Quinn – 17 percent, with 22 percent of Democrats;
  • Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz – 14 percent, with 15 percent of Democrats;
  • City Comptroller John Liu – 10 percent, with 10 percent of Democrats;
  • Former City Comptroller William Thompson – 8 percent, with 9 percent of Democrats;
  • Public Advocate Bill de Blasio – 6 percent, with 7 percent of Democrats;
  • Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer – 5 percent, with 6 percent of Democrats
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The Empire

Quinn: We have to respond to loss of hope felt by protesters

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Council Speaker Quinn, right, with members of the DUMBO BID (Courtesy of the NYC Council / William Alatriste)

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn stopped by WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show to talk about, among other things, the city’s economy. She had addressed the Association for a Better New York before coming on the show on the issue.

But listening to it, Quinn also sounded a lot like a candidate trying to provide a vision for the city she hopes to run. The big vision discussion tied Quinn’s view of how the city should help support job growth to Occupy Wall Street.

“The larger, more important issue is a loss of hope,” Quinn said, explaining the core of what she believes is driving the protestors.

She went on to say that hope, which had been fueled by the belief in the American Dream, was in danger. “People are worried, really on all sides of the political spectrum, that that is slipping away.”

Her solution: “[T]o do what we can to create employment opportunities at all different levels of the education and economic spectrum.”

The current mayor couldn’t have said it better himself. Her focus on bolstering technology growth in the city, through new educational opportunities and in fields once thought the domain of Silicon Valley, sounds like the blueprint Mayor Bloomberg has been following for years. “We have to work hard to make New York City the tech capital of the world,” Quinn said, sounding remarkably Bloombergian.

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The Empire

Latino redistricting efforts through the lens of a (Latino-less) mayoral field

Monday, October 17, 2011

We've been talking a lot about the redistricting process, and, specifically, how community activists are pushing for more racial and ethnic "majority minority" state legislative seats (and maybe even Federal).

Looking through that lens at City Hall's Laura Nahmias's piece on the dearth of Latino contenders in 2013, and you can see another reason advocates will cite in their case for giving Latinos communities more weight in more districts. As Laura's source says:

“The ‘wait your turn’ game of Democratic politics hurts the community’s possibility of growth in Latino leadership,” said political commentator Gerson Borrero, who said the city hadn’t had a reputable candidate since Fernando Ferrer won the Democratic primary for mayor in 2005.

But, of course, an increase of downstate Latino members of the Senate and Assembly doesn't necessarily mean more Latino mayoral candidates--or even a Latino mayor. But, as the proponents for more Latino majority districts point out, providing Latino communities with more outlets could be a shot in the arm to the city's undersized Latino political community.

That being said, this might be the most telling paragraph of the piece and a strategy that continues to cut against the race-based policies of yore:

Some Latino politicians said that while representation was crucial, the city would benefit from any minority or strong progressive Democrat winning in citywide office. Candidates such as Comptroller John Liu and Councilwoman Letitia James, who are seen as potential candidates for mayor and public advocate, respectively, share political positions with some Latino politicians on issues like immigration or poverty.

That being said, as specifically Asian and Latino groups push for more political representation, it's worth examining the politics behind this sort of rainbow coalition strategy.

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The Empire

Liu: We have their signatures!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Comptroller Liu sees costs dropping in the future.

Courtesy of the comptroller's office/Paul Brumlik

In the wake of the (potentially) damning New York Times story this morning, New York City Comptroller John Liu appears to be ratcheting up his defenses. According to WNYC, the comptroller says he's able to prove real human beings gave his 2013 campaign money of their own free will--regardless if the Times says:

"We have copies of signed checks, and signed donor forms by each of these donors," Liu told WNYC on Wednesday. "It's unclear to me how the interviews were conducted by the Times. Nonetheless the donors in question will be further reviewed by my campaign."

Some whispered rumors already being floated are that this could sink Liu's mayoral bid, and perhaps even worse, result in legal action. Of course, if Liu can prove his campaign donations are on the up-and-up ultimately, he'll look like the target of some shoddy reporting and maybe even make him a stronger contender for the mayoralty.

When these numbers came out back in July, Empire plotted them on a map so you could see who was giving what and where. I'm relaunching the map below--see if you can find the questionable donations!

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The Empire

ScarJo headlines Stringer fundraiser

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Courtsey of the borough president's Flickr account.

ICYMI: screen starlet, and born-and-bred Manhattanite, Scarlet Johansson hosted a fundraiser for Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer's 2013 mayoral bid earlier this week. A lot of the press focused focused on the event like it was a peculiarity, but as we've written about before, the Stringer 2013 team is proving highly adapt at capturing headlines and taking up air in the 2013 mayoral room.

Or, as Ms. Johansson put it in New York magazine's Daily Intel blog:

"It's always inspiring to see voters get behind the lesser known, less trendy candidate, but I have to say, after tonight's success, that won't be the case any longer," said Johansson, standing next to Stringer at a venue better known for the Olsen twins and a tough door.

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The Empire

Manhattan Borough Prez strings together media wins, pads 2013 resume

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer (Colby Hamilton / WNYC)

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer has been on a roll lately. Over the weekendhe spoke at a national symposium on rethinking incarceration policies, calling on the mayor to do just that when it comes to the police department’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy.

Good timing:the day before Police Commissioner Ray Kelly issued a directive to officers to not make arrests for marijuana possession during the procedure. And earlier this month, when a group of city council members announced they were allowing their constituents to vote on how discretionary funds were spent in-district, Stringer’s recent report calling for a major overhaul of the process ends up looking pretty prescient in hindsight.

Yesterday, Stringer was downtown at a stalled construction site turned temporary public space to tout a new report he’s released. He’s calling on the city to help turn some of the 646 other stalled sites into temporary places for public use, like parks or art galleries, like the one at the corner of Varick Street and Canal.

“Imagine a city where stalled construction sites are not simply inactive, dead vacant lots, but one where they boost the health and vitality of a neighborhood,” Stringer said in a statement. “That’s the kind of sidewalk renaissance we need in New York City.”

Opening the report reveals a list of other dozens of other reports, going back as far as 2006, that demonstrate how the non-legislative position of Borough President can be used as bully pulpit. As his office pointed out, these issues aren’t (entirely) flimsy publicity papers—see above.

In a crowded 2013 Democratic mayoral field, Stringer is padding his resume with think tank-like ideas for improving the city and addressing major social issues. He'll likely be citing these as examples to show he can get the city to respond to issues in a way City Council Speaker Christine Quinn can't, as she’s hemmed in by her position in the council and proximity to the current mayor. It will also allow him to list proactive agenda items—a difficult thing for a Borough President—that shows Comptroller John Liu and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio aren’t the only reformers vying for mayoralty.

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The Empire

Quinn continues to lead 2013 Dem pack: Marist

Monday, September 26, 2011

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn continues to lead the pack of 2013 Democratic mayoral contenders, according to a new NY1-Marist poll released today. Were the Democratic primary held today, 20 percent of those polled said they would support the council speaker. Following four points behind her was Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, who has said he has no interest in running for mayor.

While she might have the most dedicated support, one-in-four of those polled said they were still undecided.

“With 25 percent of Democrats undecided and the field lacking a dominant top tier of candidates, this is a campaign story still to be told,” said Marist College's Institute of Public Opinion President Lee Miringoff in a statement.

But there's trouble on the horizon for Quinn, whose support from Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the race is an open secret. Bloomberg's support would make 48 percent of those polled less likely to vote for the candidate the mayor backs.

“Those looking to succeed Mayor Bloomberg might welcome his support. But, if the numbers hold, don't expect anyone to make his endorsement the centerpiece of their campaign,” Miringoff said.

The rest of the field break down:

  • Former New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson: 12 percent
  • Comptroller John Liu: 10 percent
  • Public Advocate Bill de Blasio: 7 percent
  • Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer: 6 percent
  • Manhattan Media Publisher Tom Allon: 2 percent

Update: Crosstabs below.
EMBARGOED_Complete September 26, 2011 NYC NY1-Marist Poll Release and Tables

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The Empire

Teamster President Greg Floyd files papers to run in 2013

Friday, September 23, 2011

Update

Floyd hasn't lived in NYC for 12 years, according to David Freedlander over at the New York Observer. I guess he's got some time to find a nice place back in Queens, though the rents aren't getting any lower.

Teamsters Union Local 237 President Greg Floyd has filed papers to run for office in New York City in 2013, according to a spokesperson. NY 1's Errol Louis broke the news via Twitter earlier. Calls to Local 237's office were redirected to Hank Sheinkopf's political shop.

"Mr. Floyd has always been an advocate for working people and middle class families. He wants to explore his political options towards those goals,” said Andrew Moesel, the spokesperson for the fledgling Floyd campaign.

Asked whether Floyd was running specifically for mayor--as Louis's Tweet suggested--Moesel said, "He's keeping his options open. That’s certainly one of them.”

A source familiar with the situation said that, while nothing has been specifically finalized, the thinking was that Floyd was looking to run for mayor.

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The Empire

De Blasio to Bloomberg on Goldsmithgate: New York City deserve your apology and a thorough accounting

Friday, September 02, 2011

Colby Hamilton/WNYC

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has sent an open letter to Mayor Bloomberg regarding his handling of former Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith's resignation, the public advocate's office announced earlier.

The full letter is after the jump. De Blasio is the latest in a series of public officials--and assumed 2013 mayoral contenders--to call on the mayor to apologize and explain his actions surrounding Goldsmith's departure. He is the first to ask for a public apology.

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The Empire

Alec Baldwin on becoming mayor of New York City

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Think about this: Would I rather be handcuffed to the emergency command center in Maspeth during a hurricane ... or would I rather spend some of that 30 Rock money traveling the world with my girlfriend?

Daily Intel has the full scoop.

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The Empire

New Yorker's for Kelly, a boost for Bloomberg in new Quinnipiac poll

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Quinnipiac University Polling Institute released results that were good news for non-mayoral candidate, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. He leads a list of potential candidates, despite showing little interest in becoming the next mayor--but that didn't stop voters from selecting him in a race between many likely Democratic candidates.

“Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has never given the faintest hint that he’d like to move from Police Headquarters across the street to City Hall, but New York seems to like the idea of Kelly for mayor,” Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a statement.

Here are the results:

  • Kelly – 23 percent
  • City Council Speaker Christine Quinn – 18 percent
  • Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz – 12 percent
  • City Comptroller John Liu – 10 percent
  • 2009 Mayoral candidate William Thompson – 8 percent
  • Public Advocate Bill de Blasio – 6 percent
  • Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer – 4 percent

The overall results don't change when Kelly's name was taken out of the mix. Quinn remains the clear favorite, with the remaining candidates in the same order.

The poll also show Bloomberg's job approval rating among New Yorkers improved, from 40 – 49 percent back in May to 45 – 43 percent. However, only Manhattan gave the mayor a majority vote of approval--61 percent--while the Bronx gave Bloomberg his worst marks, with only 36 percent saying he was doing a good job.

 

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The Empire

What states are giving big to the 2013 Democratic mayoral candidates?

Monday, July 25, 2011

The five Democrats most likely to make a play for their parties mayoral nomination in 2013 are reaching across the country for funds--some pulling in almost 20 percent of their haul over the past year from outside New York. The gifted John Keefe has once again mined the data to provide a visual guide to where the presumptive candidates for mayor in 2013 are getting financial help.

New Jersey, somewhat unsurprisingly, ponied up more than $600,000 for the mayoral hopefully since January of this year, according to Campaign Finance Board records. The candidates went far afield for the third most giving state, with California contributing just over $162,000.

Among the candidates, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has raised the most out-of-state funds since January: $707, 275. But it was former city comptroller and mayoral candidate Bill Thompson, Jr. who derived the highest percentage--almost 18 percent--of funds from outside of New York. See below to see where the candidates stood.

None of these funds count towards a candidates publicly-finance campaign funds. Only funds raised between January and July are included. A number of campaigns have additional funds from prior elections that are available to them.

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