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Even pols need money too

It seems like the struggling economy is affecting fundraising for the 2009 election.

More than 185 candidates have filed paperwork with the city’s Campaign Finance Board (CFB) for 2009 positions, and during the past two months, candidates raised a little more than $4.7 million with some filings reported right before the midnight deadline of March 16 still left to enter on Tuesday morning, March 17, according to CFP spokesperson Eric Friedman.

While the slightly more than $4.7 million during the last two months is no small chunk of change, it represents a decrease from the $7.6 million raised during the same two-month period in 2005 – the last citywide election cycle.

“There are a lot of different reasons why fundraising may have slowed down a little bit, and indications are initially that it is still a little slow,” Friedman said.

Of that $4.7 million raised, Mayor Michael Bloomberg – who helped usher in a term limits extension last year allowing himself and other citywide elected officials to seek a third term in office – accounted for $3 million himself by donating the money to his campaign. During the same two-month period last year, Bloomberg donated about $4.66 million to his campaign.

Excluding the billionaire mayor, many of the citywide candidates saw fundraising take a sharp hit with less donations as well as smaller amounts. In the race for City Comptroller, three of the four main candidates hail from Queens with City Councilmembers David Weprin, Melinda Katz and John Liu all vying for the seat against Brooklyn Councilmember David Yassky.

Currently, Liu has raised the most money overall for the campaign with $3.1 million while Katz and Weprin have at $2.2 million and $2.1 million respectively, according to CFB figured. However, during the last two months, Katz brought in more than $72,000 from 182 donations while Liu brought in $19,693 from 181 donations and Weprin brought in just over $20,000 from only 58 donations.

Although fundraising has hit a lull while the economy has plummeted, Friedman believes that as the election gets closer the fundraising will pick up again. Those interested in receiving public funds for the 2009 election cycle must register with the CFB by June 10.

“Despite the extension of term limits there are a lot of council challengers out there mounting energetic campaigns,” Friedman said.

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