Bloomberg spends record $85 million in New York mayor's race

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has spent more on his own campaigns than any other politician in US history.

Bryan Smith/AP
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks during the first mayoral debate on Oct. 13 in New York.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has now spent $85 million of his own fortune in his bid for a third term as mayor of New York City. By the Nov. 3 election, that total is expected to soar to between $110 million and $140 million.

This means Bloomberg – whose campaign spending is estimated at $850,000 to $1 million a day – has set a new record for personal campaign spending.

By contrast, Bloomberg’s competitor, comptroller William Thompson, has spent only about $6 million.

Bloomberg also spent more than $130 million on his previous two mayoral campaigns.

This puts Bloomberg – whose personal fortune is estimated at $17.5 billion – in the company of only a handful of other politicians who have lead pricey self-funded campaigns.

A recent New York Times report estimates:

New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine has shed $130 million in two gubernatorial campaigns and one for United States Senate.

• In two runs at the White House, Steve Forbes spent $114 million.

Ross Perot spent $75 million in his two presidential campaigns.

In addition, Mitt Romney spent $44 million on his 2008 presidential bid.

But unlike many of his self-funded political predecessors, Bloomberg is likely to be happy with the outcome of his election day.

Recent polls place him ahead of Mr. Thompson by 16 percentage points.

Other politicians or would-be politicians who spend heavily on their own campaigns often come up short on election day.

Seventy-eight percent self-funded candidates for the House and Senate in 2008 lost their bids or dropped out of the race prior to the election, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. For the 2006 election cycle, that number was 86 percent.

Tom Golisano, for instance, spent $74 million in the 2002 New York governor's race. He won 14 percent of the vote.


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