Five Stories Not about Rupert Murdoch

Sarah Laskow | July 15th, 2011

Council Speaker Christine Quinn

The most scandalicious story this week — the closure of Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World — had nothing to do with New York politics, per se. But any story about Rupert Murdoch is distracting. With Albany out of session and the New York City budget passed, the most exciting political news this week was finding out which politicians have the most money to spend on their reelection campaigns (although legally sanctioned graft — otherwise known as fundraising — is inevitably less fun than illegal graft).

Christie Quinn Raised the Most Money
Therefore, she will be mayor in 2013. Or so conventional wisdom would suggest. She raised $1.32 million in 2011 so far. John Liu, her closest competitor in the money race, raised $1 million. But in total, Quinn has $4 million to blow on the mayoral race.

As a rule, the candidate with the most money to spend on election wins. And in New York media markets, campaign ads are expensive. Successful candidates do have to raise the money themselves: self-funders break the maxim. In politics, $4 million isn’t $4 million unless you’ve spent hours on the phone and in posh banquet halls asking people for it.

Bloomberg Gives Other Mayors a Financial Boost
Mayor Bloomberg’s Bloomberg Philathropies gave $24 million to five mayors still within the first 18 months of office. One of those mayors was Rahm Emanuel, who generally doesn’t need help finding money. That $1.32 million that Christie Quinn came up with is chump change to him: He raised $1.4 million just in the last 10 days of 2010.

Bloomberg (and Many Others) Give Mark Grisanti a Financial Boost
Mark Grisanti voted to legalize same-sex marriage, and that vote could have hurt his chances of re-election. But to salve that wound, money helps. Mayor Bloomberg chipped in $10,300 to the state senator’s campaign fund, as did the investor Robert Ziff and the banker Frank R. Selvaggi, The New York Observer reported. LGBT advocate Tim Gill donated $10,000. Overall, Grisanti raised $148,325 in the last fundraising period.

Same-Sex Marriage Fallout
Not everyone made out so well from the same-sex marriage vote, of course. The clerk of the Town of Barker resigned her position, because she didn’t want to sign marriage for same-sex couples. She wrote in her resignation letter, “The Bible clearly teaches that God created marriage between male and female as a divine gift that preserves families and culture.”

Sandra Lee’s petroleum-Based Income
We know how Gov. Andrew Cuomo feel about hydrofracking now, but where does Sandra Lee, our unofficial first lady, stand? And what sort of income might she be getting from the petroleum industry? She spoke in March at a meeting of petroleum executives, but it’s not clear what group that was. Food & Water Watch, a D.C.-based group, wants to know more. Cuomo wouldn’t characterize her relationship with the industry.

Lots of people do like Sandra Lee, but it’s not entirely clear what interest petroleum executives would have in her. State Room’s best guess is that it has something to do with petroleum-based plastics for a product line.