Campaign Cash Flows In Fast For Lhota, Source Says
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Republican candidate for mayor Joe Lhota is raising a lot of campaign money, and fast.
The former head of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority just got into the mayor's race in January, and only started raising money on the 17th of that month. But in less than eight weeks, he has raised about $720,000, a source tells NY1.
That's about $100,000 a week.
The deadline for the latest fundraising period was midnight on Monday.
In the coming days, other candidates will be revealing how well they are expanding their war chests.
Lhota's fundraising totals were of particular interest because it's the first indication of how much traction his campaign is gaining with New Yorkers. However, it's not known how much Lhota has spent over the past eight weeks.
If he is blowing through the money quickly the significance of the figure will be somewhat diminished. One of the big questions for Lhota from the beginning has been whether he can raise a lot of cash and raise it fast.
Lhota's Democratic rivals already have a big head start in the money race. By mid-January, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn had raised $6.2 million; Public Advocate Bill de Blasio had raised $3.5 million; City Comptroller John Liu had collected $3.1 million; and former City Comptroller Bill Thompson had raised about $2.5 million.
None of those campaigns have released their latest fundraising figures, which will be made public by the end of the week.
But before he focuses on the Democrats, Lhota has to win a Republican primary.
One of his opponents is businessman John Catsimatidis, a billionaire. Catsimatidis says he is prepared to spend one million dollars a month on his campaign if it is needed.
However, Democratic political consultant George Arzt said he does not think Lhota needs to worry about his wealthy rival.
"I just don't believe he has any credibility. And the papers will tend to disregard him," Arzt said.
Over the weekend, Lhota got a fundraising boost from his old boss, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Lhota was a deputy mayor and the city's budget director under the former mayor.
In a letter to would-be donors, Giuliani wrote that Lhota has what it takes to win the election but needs help raising money.
He also wrote, "If you don't think the city can slip back to its unmanageable, ungovernable ways, just listen to Joe's democratic opponents. We must elect Joe as New York's next Mayor."
Lhota does not seem to be slowing down his fundraising. He was in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to raise more money for his campaign.