The mayoral money bandwagon

Some high-profile New Yorkers, as well as a number of notable non-residents, have donated to the frontrunner in the race for New York City mayor, Democrat Bill de Blasio, in the two weeks before the general election. De Blasio’s Republican opponent, Joe Lhota, has not fared well in the polls, and his dismal numbers appear to have all but dried up his fundraising.

The New York World breaks down the who’s who of top industries and contributors to de Blasio and Lhota in the final two weeks of the campaign. This analysis reflects individual contributions over $4,000 to the Democratic and Republican mayoral nominees from Oct. 22 through Nov. 4, 2013, as disclosed to the New York City Campaign Finance Board.

Contributions to de Blasio’s campaign of more than $1,000 over that period totaled in excess of $1 million, a figure that dwarfs the $26,000 Lhota’s team raised.

The chart below compares the contributions each received of $4,000 or more in the two weeks pre-Election Day, broken down by industry of the donor:

A number of high profile names appear in the rolls of last-minute campaign donors. Hotelier and real estate developer Ian Schrager, of Studio 54 fame, gave $4,950 – the maximum contribution allowed under law – to de Blasio. Raphael De Niro, the high-end real estate broker and son of actor Robert de Niro, contributed the maximum to de Blasio after giving to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn in the primary election.

Even out-of-town real estate moguls broke out their checkbooks for de Blasio. Billionaire John Arrillaga, one of the largest landowners in Silicon Valley and father-in-law of venture capitalist Mark Andreessen, shelled out the maximum contribution to de Blasio on October 26.

In the tech space, as the New York Times reported, a number of Silicon Valley-based founders have made last minute contributions to de Blasio. LinkedIn founder and CEO Reid Hoffman and Virginia-based serial entrepreneur Sean Parker, who founded of Napster and was the first president of Facebook, each contributed the maximum to de Blasio in the last two weeks.

For many non-New York tech entrepreneurs, contributing big now way be a way to win some good will for their east coast business interests. John Zimmer, the co-founder of the ridesharing platform Lyft, gave $4,950 to de Blasio on Oct. 31. For Lyft and fellow taxi-cab competitors Uber and Hailo, a good relationship with City Hall could be an important step to preventing regulatory brawls with New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission.

Transportation entrepreneurs aren’t the only one’s hoping to cultivate a good relationship with City Hall. After all the drama around illegal New York City hotel rentals it is not surprising that the founding team of Airbnb – which is based in San Francisco and comprised of Nathan Blecharczyk, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia – all made last minute max-out contributions to de Blasio’s campaign.

It’s not just tech start-ups but also their underwriters who are making big contributions in the final campaign stretch. From the left coast, noted angel investor Ron Conway and Silicon Valley-based venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar each gave $4,950 to de Blasio. Silicon Alley evangelist and principal at Union Square Ventures Fred Wilson made contributions to both Jack Hidary and Christine Quinn in the primary but wrote a check for the maximum amount to de Blasio last week. Thrive Capital’s Joshua Kushner, whose father is a New York real estate mogul, also jumped on the de Blasio bandwagon with a high-dollar last-minute contribution.

Big political spender David Koch has made his influence felt in the New York City mayoral race, with sizeable investments in a PAC promoting GOP candidate Joe Lhota. AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

Big political spender David Koch has made his influence felt in the New York City mayoral race, with sizeable investments in a PAC promoting GOP candidate Joe Lhota. AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

Outside of the technology sector, Wall Street is starting to come around to Bill de Blasio. But Joe Lhota’s biggest contributions continue to come from financial services executives. Billionaire hedge fund manager Julian Robertson Jr. contributed $4,950 to Lhota on Oct. 30 and Franklin Hobbs, the former CEO of investment bank Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin, gave $2,500 to the former New York City budget director.

Among the pack of last-minute major donors was industrialist and Warner Music Group owner Leonard Blavatnik and his wife Emily, who each gave $4,950 to de Blasio. Mr. Blavatnik previously contributed $2,500 to Christine Quinn’s mayoral campaign in 2012. Blavatnik was joined by Barnes and Noble’s founder Leonard Riggio, Viacom president and CEO Philippe Dauman and former New York Nets owner, and current publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Lewis Katz, who all contributed the maximum amount to de Blasio.

But all is not lost for Lhota. A pro-Lhota political action committee, New York Progress and Protection, got an infusion of $230,000 in the two-week period — mainly from a single donation from billionaire industrialist David Koch.

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