The scenario is laid out in this recent AP report:
Weiner — who had long been vocal about his mayoral aspirations and ran for the Democratic nomination in 2005 — has filed disclosure reports with the New York City Campaign Finance Board showing he has approximately $4.5 million in the bank for a potential City Hall bid.
Public matching funds, which are awarded for individual contributions from city residents up to $175, would give Weiner nearly $1.5 million in extra cash. Those funds will expire, however, unless they’re used in the upcoming election cycle — adding a sense of urgency to any plans the Queens Democrat might have for a return to politics.
While that’s all correct, a source close to Weiner argued to me recently that losing out on the $1.5 million in matching funds actually wouldn’t be all that big a deal — and that Weiner could easily hold off on a comeback until his reputation heals following his Twitter scandal.
The current spending limit for the 2013 Democratic mayoral primary is $6.4 million — or about $2 million more than Weiner has in the bank. That means in a run later than 2013, Weiner could simply opt out of the matching funds program and raise the extra couple million dollars privately, while still being competitive with the spending of his primary opponents for a 2017 run. Raising that amount wouldn’t be extraordinarily difficult if Weiner is seen as viable for a 2017 run, my source argued.
I ran this information by Campaign Finance Board spokesman Eric Friedman, who not only backed up my source’s assertion about rolling over the money from 2013 to 2017, but said that Weiner could still get matching funds in 2017, on top of the $4.5 million in the bank:
These are the possible moves for Weiner, according to Friedman:
1. Weiner can run in 2013 with the money he has in the bank and get matching funds for the small contributions he’s already raised.
2. He can pass on 2013 and run in 2017; he would open a new committee and transfer the money over. He would not get matching funds for those contributions in that scenario. He could, however, go out and raise more small contributions from NYC residents to qualify from scratch.
3. If he does opt out of the matching funds program entirely in a future election, he would not have spending limits.
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