New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is easily outpacing Democratic primary challenger Cynthia Nixon in campaign contributions but can’t shake questions about some donors.
Cuomo raised more than $6 million in the first half of 2018 and now has $31 million in his reelection account, according to campaign finance reports released late Monday. Nixon, a liberal activist, raised $1.6 million and now has $660,000 on hand. Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, the Republican candidate, has $887,000 in his war chest.
The sizeable lead gives Cuomo a huge advantage going into the final leg of the Sept. 13 primary. But Cuomo’s donations were made up largely of large sums donated by wealthy supporters, while Nixon’s were mostly made of donations less than $250.
Nonetheless, Cuomo’s campaign boasted that 57 percent of the donations it received — about 1,100 — were from small donors. But many of the names on the list included former or current Cuomo aides or their relatives. One donor, Christopher Kim of Queens, who appears to be married to Cuomo aide Julia Yang, gave $77 spread over 69 contributions.
On Tuesday, Cuomo announced plans to donate to charity more than $500,000 in contributions from developers convicted last week in the bid-rigging case against Alain Kaloyeros, once a leading economic development leader in Cuomo’s administration.
Cuomo initially moved the money to a separate account after Kaloyeros was charged two years ago, saying he would await direction from prosecutors before deciding what to do with it. Preet Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney whose office first brought the charges, dismissed Cuomo’s plan before offering his own advice.
“Federal prosecutors don’t give such guidance,” he tweeted Friday. “But former prosecutors can — just return the money.”