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Liu's Fundraising Lags as He's Set to Formally Announce Mayoral Run

By Jill Colvin | March 15, 2013 5:05pm | Updated on March 15, 2013 5:19pm

NEW YORK CITY  — City Comptroller John Liu posted a disappointing fundraising tally Friday, two days before he was set to formally launch his campaign for mayor at a kick-off at City Hall.

Liu, whose campaign is under federal investigation, raised just $105,775 over the past two months, according to his latest campaign filings — significantly less than his Democratic rivals, including City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, former comptroller Bill Thompson and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.

Liu also burned through nearly $94,000, with thousands spent on pricey consultants and a glossy campaign video that was debuted during his birthday party. Still, he has more than $2 million cash-on-hand, the records show.

Liu's campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Overall, Quinn remained the front-runner in the money race to replace Mayor Michael Bloomberg, bringing in $510,000 during the latest filing period, boosting her total raised to $6.7 million.

After spending $240,000 over the past two months, Quinn now has $5.53 million cash on-hand, her campaign said.

"This shows that having an actual record and vision to help the middle class resonates with New Yorkers," said Quinn's spokesman Mike Morey.

Meanwhile, Thompson, who narrowly lost to Bloomberg in 2010, came in second, raising $340,000 over the last two months, his campaign said.

Thompson surprised many when he reported raising $1 million over six months during the previous, longer filing period — and his campaign said the new numbers continued "the same strong pace that helped Thompson raise $1 million over six months in the previous filing."

“We are proud of the strong campaign we continue to build, thanks to grassroots support from every corner of our city,” Thompson said in a statement. “More and more New Yorkers are coming on board our campaign because they understand we need a mayor with the leadership, experience, and vision to help move all of New York’s communities forward," he said.

Thompson now has $2.8 million in his war chest, is campaign said.

De blasio came in third, raising $267,000 over the past two months.

"With expected matching funds, the de Blasio Campaign has raised $5.9 million, rapidly closing in on the primary spending limit," his campaign manager Bill Hyer said in a statement.

The campaign spent $135,000 over the past two months, they said.

Former Brooklyn City Councilman Sal Albanese raised just $51,264 and has $140,081 in his campaign coffers.

Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf said the tallies were evidence of growing momentum for Thompson, who has sometimes been criticized for running a lackluster campaign.

“People should begin — as I've been telling them — top pay attention to Thomspon very carefully," he said.

“All of them are on their way to maxing out, so to mistake money raised now as a measure of popularity or winnability is wrong," he said. "But it should be a note to everyone that Bill Thompson is on the move and previous ideas about him are wrong."

But he also said that, despuite Liu's weak numbers, he can't be counted out.

“He's still alive," he said, explaining that Liu has an extremely dedicated and enthusiasic base that will turn out, even as the trial against his former campaign treasurer and a top fundraiser continues to drag on.

“Whether he raises money does't really matter," he said. "He’s a player."

On the Republican side, front-runner Joe Lhota brought in an impressive $731,601 in contributions over the past two months, proving he has the fundraising chops to mount a competitive campaign.

Lhota, who was bolstered by a fundraising push from his former boss, Mayor Rudy  Giuliani, received strong support from the banking and real estate industries, with contributions from Lowes Corporation Chief Executive James Tisch, Home Depot's Ken Langone and Cablevision's Charles Dolan, records show.

Lhota also received a personal boost from Giuliani, who contributed the max $4,950,  Bloomberg's daughter, Emma, who gave him $1,000, and his own checkbook: He contributed $14,850 to his own campaign.

“We're thrilled. It's an outstanding number," said a campaign source, who noted that the total raised worked out to about $100,000 a week.

Meanwhile, billionaire supermarket magnate John Catsimatidis, who has vowed to pour millions of his personal fortune into the race, raised $15,950 over the past two months from three contributors.

He also spent $267,288 over the past two months, paying out thousands to campaign consultants and for radio ads.

Republican Doe Fund Founder George McDonald, who is battling the city's campaign finance laws in court, reported raising $11,288 over the past two months, minus refunds, while publisher Tom Allon raised $12,385.

Candidates have until midnight Friday to file their tallies with the city's Campaign Finance Board.