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Judge Rejects GOP Mayoral Candidate's Push To Raise Donor Limit

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Republican candidate for mayor George McDonald has lost his legal challenge to the city's campaign finance system, a decision that could shrink his already meager campaign war chest. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.

The uphill battle George McDonald is waging in the race for mayor is getting even tougher.

A State Supreme Court judge shot down McDonald's challenge to the city's campaign finance rules. It means that McDonald will have to comply with the city's strict limits on the size of donations, unless he wins on appeal.

A campaign aide said he is likely to challenge the ruling.

McDonald argued that he should be allowed to raise as much money from individual donors as the state allows. The city restricts candidates for mayor from raising more than $4,950 from individual donors, but the state allows candidates to raise about $60,000 from a single donor.

"Today's decision is a great win for all New Yorkers," said Eric Friedman of the New York City Campaign Finance Board. "What it does is, it says that large contributions from people with the ability to write $60,000 checks aren't going to be able to drown out the voice of average New Yorkers in city elections."

David Catalfamo, a spokesman for the McDonald campaign, blasted the judge for taking months to reach her decision.

"It's simply incomprehensible that such a decision would take this long and smacks of the kind of crony politics that New Yorkers have grown tired of seeing," the spokesman said.

The judge, Kathryn Freed, is a former member of the City Council who was active in Democratic politics.

McDonald has been struggling to raise the money he needs to compete in the race. His latest campaign finance filing from back in March showed that while he had raised about $289,000, he had spent about $287,000, leaving him with little in the bank.

A spokesman for the campaign said McDonald is committed to staying in the race. He said the candidate recently took out a second mortgage on his home to help his campaign. In short, he is doubling down.

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