Some $16 million in super PAC spending has been directed to NYC mayoral candidates Adams, McGuire, and Yang - all moderates.
As Adams has risen in polling, donors have increased spending to super PACs supporting his candidacy.
The funding has led to a bump in mailers and political advertisements across digital platforms.
Nearly eight years after billionaire Michael Bloomberg left the New York City mayoralty, the ultrawealthy are making their mark on the 2021 mayoral race in a big way.
Billionaires have given $16 million to super political action committees (PACs) focused on the Democratic mayoral primary race this year, in an election which for the first time in the city's history features such organizations that are focused on individual candidates, according to The New York Times.
Super PACs are set up to be independent of the political campaigns, without any coordination with the candidates about spending the monies. This year, super PAC spending in the mayoral race has hit more than $24 million, according to the New York City Campaign Finance Board.
This figure represents roughly 30 percent of the $79 million that has been spent on the race, The Times reported.
The funding has led to an abundance of campaign mailers and political advertisements across digital platforms in a spirited, multicandidate campaign that has taken place during the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are dedicated super PACs for nearly all of the eight major Democratic candidates, but half of the spending by billionaires has gone to three of the more moderate candidates - Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, former Citigroup executive Ray McGuire, and former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang.
According to The Times, "at least 14 individuals that Forbes magazine has identified as billionaires have donated to mayoral-related super PACs."
Steven A. Cohen, the hedge fund manager and owner of the New York Mets, in May donated $500,000 each to super PACs for Yang and Adams.
However, as polling began to show more consistent leads for Adams, Cohen gave another $1 million to Adams, according to The Times.
Daniel S. Loeb, another hedge fund manager and a supporter of charter schools, also donated $500,000 each to super PACs for Yang and Adams in May.
Similar to Cohen, as the frontrunner status for Adams became evident in most polling, Loeb donated another $500,000 to the Adams super PAC.
The super PAC backing McGuire has drawn the financial support of billionaire donors that include the Home Depot cofounder Kenneth Langone, the philanthropists Laurie Tisch and Leonard Lauder, and the investor William Ackman.
According to The Times, city records show that super PACs for another candidate, former Housing and Urban Development secretary Shaun Donovan, along with McGuire and Adams, each raised roughly $7 million.
Two super PACs for Yang raised over $4 million, and the super PAC for former Sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia raised $306,000, per The Times report.
The super PACs "threaten to undermine New York City's campaign finance system, which is designed to combat the power of big money in politics by using city funds to match small donations," per The Times.
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