New York City Mayor Eric Adams raised a whopping $850,077 for his reelection campaign since January – though more of that came from donors living outside the city than from his own constituents. New York City donors gave $421,417 according to Adams’ first campaign finance report as mayor, while those with addresses outside the city gave $428,660.
Citing a consultant briefed on the campaign’s plans, The New York Times reported last month that Adams’ hoped to max out his fundraising by the end of the summer – bringing in enough money that, with the help of the city’s 8-to-1 public matching funds program, he would have enough money to spend up to the $7.9 million limit for the 2025 primary. If so, Adams has a long way to go. He claimed just $83,917 eligible for matching, which would qualify him for an additional $671,336 in public funds.
That relatively low number is due to the fact that so much of Adams’ haul came from outside the city, and because so many donations exceeded the $250 limit to be eligible for matching funds. The campaign reported 699 contributors giving an average donation of $1,216. For a candidate participating in the matching funds program, like Adams, the maximum allowed contribution is $2,100, which is meant, in part, to limit the influence of any individual donor.
Adams is actually off to a slightly slower fundraising pace than the first six months of 2018, when he was launching his campaign. He brought in more than $915,000 that period, though at the time he was accepting donations at the previous limit of $5,100.
But Adams’ fundraising efforts immediately upon taking office dwarf those of his predecessor Bill de Blasio. He brought in just $44,000 in his first six months in office, and just $8,000 in the six months after that – choosing to focus more on boosting state Senate Democrats, rather than his own reelection campaign. Adams, by contrast, has made fundraising a personal focus, even holding events in Los Angeles and Chicago.
“This filing shows strong support for Mayor Adams and his plans for the city,” Adams’ campaign counsel Vito Pitta said in a statement provided to City & State.
Adams reported a balance of $747,000 – a cushion that helps establish the mayor’s formidability as a candidate in 2025, when he is expected to stand for reelection to a second term. The city’s progressive movement is hoping to find a candidate to rally behind and challenge the incumbent from the left. Candidates in the 2021 primary such as Maya Wiley and Kathryn Garcia scrambled to compete with Adams’ early fundraising advantage in that race, though they were both able to catch up, more or less, thanks in part to the public matching funds program.
The leader on the other side of City Hall, New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, also had a strong fundraising period. In her first six months as speaker, the Southeast Queens council member brought in a hefty $128,865. That’s more than any other council member, though Land Use Committee Chair Rafael Salamanca’s $109,000 came close.
Notably, Speaker Adams is declining to take part in the matching funds program, meaning that she is accepting donations of up to $1,600, rather than the lower $1,060 limit. This would also exempt her from the spending limit of $207,000 for the primary – though it is unlikely that Adams would face a serious challenge. Thanks to redistricting, all City Council members will be up for reelection to a two year term in 2023.
Adams’ fundraising consultant, Tucker Green, did not respond when asked why she wasn’t taking part in the matching funds program. The day before campaign finance filings were due last Friday, City & State asked Adams if she was fundraising for reelection. “That’s a fair question,” she said at a press conference before a state meeting of the Council. “And I would not be the first woman elected to serve District 28 if I was not on my game.”
Adams’ new, citywide position seems to have earned her some donors with interests before the council. Lobbying firm Greenberg Traurig, Anthony and Gino Argento of the film production company Broadway Stages and the Building Trades Council were all among the donors who maxed out to Adams. The New York State Laborers gave an over-the-limit $2,850 contribution that will have to be returned.
Anthony Thomas, a political consultant who has worked with Adams, downplayed the contributions to City & State. “I don’t think she spent that much time on fundraising, all things considered,” he said. “She spent more time on legislating and the budget.”