Borough President Markowitz, who for months has been openly toying with a run for the mayoralty in 2009, is trailing his would-be opponents badly in the only race that matters right now: money.
Markowitz has raised only $750,000 for his undeclared 2009 campaign. City Comptroller Bill Thompson has raised more than $3 million, while Rep. Anthony Weiner (D–Sheepshead Bay) has raised more than $2 million.
Michael Weiss, Markowitz’s campaign treasurer, insisted the situation was not as dire as it seemed on first blush.
“We think his numbers are pretty impressive,” said Weiss, citing the $500,000 that Markowitz has left over from his last campaign for borough president.
Even so, what is striking about Markowitz’s fundraising so far is its lack of grass-roots financial support, especially given Markowitz’s highly public persona.
Indeed, 77 percent of Markowitz’s 201 donors gave him checks of $2,000 or more, turning his donor list into a roster of bold-face names like Joe Sitt, president of Thor Equities, the firm that has multi-billion-dollar plans to revamp Coney Island; Shaya Boymelgreen, one of the borough’s most prolific developers of luxury condominiums; and Joshua Muss, another major developer.
Many big donations came in on June 20, the day Mayor Bloomberg hosted a fundraiser for Markowitz in his Upper East Side townhouse.
By contrast, only 23 percent of donors to Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion’s potential run for mayor have given him more than $2,000 each.
A mere five percent of Markowitz’s donors gave him $250 or less, the donation size normally associated with grassroots support. Thirty-one percent of Carrion’s donors gave the Bronx beep $250 or less.
Political strategists say that Markowitz must tap into a wider constituency of supporters if he wants to make a run for mayor.
“He likely went after the low-lying fruit, the easiest money to raise first, which is not an atypical strategy,” said Scott Levenson, a political consultant. “The challenge before him is to broaden his fundraising base and increase the amount of donors.”
But Hank Sheinkopf, another political consultant and a long-time acquaintance of Markowitz’s, said the Beep’s lackluster fundraising simply indicated his indecision about running.
“He’s always been a good fundraiser,” said Sheinkopf. “If he made up his mind, he’d be doggedly pursuing the money trail.”
But make up his mind, he hasn’t. Back in June, Markowitz told The Brooklyn Paper, “Every day I don’t decide makes it more and more challenging.”
Should Markowitz finally decide to declare, strategists are ambivalent as to his ability to win.
“He has a message to sell, a packaging that has appeal, and he’s been in city and state politics almost three decades,” said Levenson. “He should not be taken lightly.”
“That said, you have some real pros with lots of money in the Democratic field, from [City Council] Speaker Christine Quinn to Congressman [Anthony] Weiner, and of course Comptroller Thompson.”
Marty goes big time
Borough President Markowitz, term-limited and publicly pondering a run for mayor, may be trailing other would-be candidates in fundraising, but he’s got Brooklyn’s upper crust on his side. The Beep’s coffers are flush with money from a big-time donors (those who contributed $2,000 or more), while only five percent of his contributors wrote checks of $250 or less. Some say that’s an indication that Markowitz lacks grass-roots support.
|Candidate||Percentage of big-time donors||Percentage of small-time donors||Total Funds Raised|
|Adolfo Carrion||23%||31%||more than $1.5 million|
Marty’s ‘Who’s Who’
Donors to Borough President Markowitz’s still-undeclared 2009 mayoral candidacy come from the very upper crust of Brooklyn’s business community. Here are some of the Beep’s bold-faced contributors who wrote the checks for the maximum contribution — $4,950:
Donald Trump: $4,950
Joe Sitt: $4,950
Dolly Williams: $4,950
Shaya Boymelgreen: $4,950
Steve Hindy: $4,950
• Josh Muss, whose Muss Development is a major Brooklyn builder, $4,950;
• David Steiner, Steiner Studios, $4,950;
• Sam Chang, developer behind the Gowanus Holiday Inn and the Comfort Inn in Boerum Hill, $4,950;
• John (Dozier) Hasty, publisher of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, $4,950.