Congressman Anthony Weiner makes a habit of placing fourth out of four in polls among the Democratic field for mayor, and a recent Marist Poll found that a mere 1 percent of respondents think he’ll be elected the next mayor (of course, only 2 percent thought Gifford Miller had the look of a winner, and a mere 9 percent placed their bets on Frontrunner Fernando). But he plugs away, on Monday taking to the steps of City Hall to identify $1.7 billion in budget savings that could pay for higher teacher salaries and tax cuts. That’s not surprising, given that Weiner is the self-identified policy wonk of the campaign. What is unexpected is that despite his fourth place position, Weiner has played the money game well.
According to the latest candidate filings at the Campaign Finance Board, Weiner has just over $3 million on hand in combined contributions and matching funds. That puts him just $40,000 behind Ferrer, even though Freddy raised a million more than Weiner from campaign donors. The reason is Weiner has spent less than the other three main Democrats in the race (Christopher Brodeur and Arthur Piccolo are also on the September 13 ballot but neither is participating in the CFB program) and raked in more matching funds ($2.8 million) than anyone but Miller.
Of course, all these Democratic cash figures are relative, since the opponent in November will have a bottomless war chest to tap into and could spend $100 million—about eight times the total raised by all four Democrats so far. But in the primary contest, that recent Marist Poll has Ferrer missing the 40 percent cutoff, triggering a runoff with the runner up; right now, Virginia Fields leads in the race for second but Miller and Weiner are both within the margin of error.
The debates, which start Tuesday night (7-8:30 p.m. on NY1 and WNYC 93.9 FM), might help Weiner boost his profile and his poll numbers.