Chasing the money in Manhattan


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As the Democratic presidential candidates court wealthy donors, an early look at who’s ahead in NYC’s dollar derby


Photos



  • Sen. Kamala Harris. Photo: Gage Skidmore, via flickr




  • Former Vice President Joe Biden. Photo: Marc Nozell, via flickr




  • South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Photo: Gage Skidmore, via flickr



“They all come through Manhattan because this is where the candidates get their money. They think New York City streets are paved with gold and they want to get as much as they can.”

Political consultant George Arzt



The Democratic Dash for Cash is in high gear as presidential candidates — from frontrunners to likely also-rans — are courting mega-rich Manhattan donors as the race for the nomination heats up after the first round of debates.

Former Vice President Joe Biden swung through Manhattan on June 17 and June 18 for big-bucks fundraisers, one of which was held at the Upper East Side home Jim Chanos, the founder of Kynikos Associates, a prominent short-selling investment firm. According to pool press reports, guests mingled in the dining room of the art-filled penthouse, sipping wine and chatting.

Other prominent candidates have also waded in the Manhattan money pool, including U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, who pumped the flesh at the home of Marc Lasry, a co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who attended an early June fundraiser at the home of Hamilton James of the Blackstone Group.

“They all come through Manhattan because this is where the candidates get their money,” longtime political consultant George Arzt said. “They think New York City streets are paved with gold and they want to get as much as they can.”

The latest numbers in New York’s dollar derby surprisingly show New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker with a healthy edge over Kirsten Gillibrand, New York’s junior senator, with Booker pulling $1.7 million statewide, compared to Gillibrand’s $1.28 million.

The numbers, from the April 15 filings, are itemized contributions of more than $200 in the election cycle and with be updated in about three weeks — and for the first time will include numbers from Biden and Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“I’m not completely surprised that Gillibrand wasn’t first, but I would have thought Harris, [Sen. Bernie] Sanders or [Sen. Elizabeth] Warren would have been more likely to be Number 1,” said political consultant Jerry Skurnik. “I think if contributions under $200 are included, Sanders and Warren might be ahead.”

‘Upper East Side Donors are Holding Back’

Despite the absence of Biden and de Blasio, the early numbers provide a look at where the money’s coming from, and who’s getting it.

Harris is a solid third in the statewide money chase at $914,841, with the rest of the major candidates fighting it out in the second tier: Sen. Amy Klobuchar collected $486,657; Pete Buttigieg $392,596; Beto O’Rourke $317,815; Bernie Sanders $292,656; and Sen. Elizabeth Warren took in $225,179.

The largest chunks of the Manhattan money came from zip codes 10023 and 10024 on the Upper West Side, 10021 and 10028 on the Upper East Side, 10011 and 10019 in Chelsea and Clinton and 10013 in Greenwich Village/Soho.

“The Upper West Side and the Upper East Side traditionally are the top areas,” Skurnik said. “It appears from this data that Upper East Side donors are holding back. I suspect future filings will show them getting involved and giving to Biden and Gillibrand.”

“I’ve noticed ... that New Yorkers who usually get involved in Presidential campaigns early have been holding back,” Skurnik added. “At this point in past campaigns, many more rich New Yorkers were on finance committees and many more elected officials had endorsed candidates.”

There haven’t been many early endorsements, but Sanders reportedly has won the support of State Sens. Julia Salazar and James Sanders, Assemblymember Ron Kim and City Council member Rafael Espinal. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Rep. Tom Suozzi have endorsed Biden; former New York City Council member Ronnie Eldridge is supporting Buttigieg; Rep. Carolyn Maloney is baking Gillibrand; and Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte is for de Blasio.

July Filings Will Shake Up the Race

But let’s get back to those early money totals and break them down a little further.

Booker’s leading donations were $82,729 from 10023; $77,848 from zip code 10024 and $63,917 from zip code 10011. Gillibrand took in $80,607 from zip code 10024; $74,958 from zip code 10021 and $67,100 from zip code 10011.

Harris also did well in 10023, raking in $62,129; she brought in $56,446 from zip code 10011 and $53,275 from 10019. Klobuchar raised $$48,300 from 10024, $33,500 from 10023 and $32,400 from 10003. O’Rourke garnered $24,207 in 10013, $21,495 in 10024 and $19,100 in 10011.

Sanders pulled in $9414 from 10025, $9,285 from 10010 and $8,171 from 10012. Warren collected $21,623 from 10011, $11,616 from 10023 and $11,325 from the 10013 zip code.

Arzt said the second quarter filings, to be released July 15, will shake up the Manhattan money race. He predicts that Biden will “pick up a lot of money.” Arzt said some of the likely also-rans won’t do as well: “People are reluctant to give money to candidates who haven’t gained any traction.”






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