Despite plummeting poll numbers and critical news coverage, Mayor Eric Adams clearly has continued monetary support from two influential spheres of influence: real estate leaders and the New York City donor class. and beyond.
Mr. Adams has raised $1.3 million since January for his 2025 re-election effort in the latest reporting period, drawing a peak of $2,100 in donations from real estate moguls like Marc Holliday, CEO of SL Green, the largest commercial landlord in the city, and its founder. Green, Steve; and Alexander and Helena Durst, members of The Durst Organization real estate dynasty, according to new documents filed with the city. Campaign Finance Board.
About $550,000 came from donors outside of New York City who live in the suburbs, Florida and other states, a continuation of a pattern shown early in his tenure, when held fundraisers in Beverly Hills and Chicago in his first months in office.
As mayor, Mr. Adams has often taken positions that benefit the real estate industry, including supporting rent increases and criticize state legislators for not replacing a tax incentive program for developers known as 421a.
He has met frequently with real estate leaders and has used One Vanderbilt, one of the city’s newest skyscrapers, developed by SL Green, as a backdrop for photo shoots and press conferences. As a small-time landlord, Mr. Adams once declared, “I’m from real estate.” And the main owners have always been among their most loyal donors.
Mr. Adams frequently asserts that his political base of working-class New Yorkers and parishioners understands and supports his mission. But the continued support from real estate interests only fuels the idea that Adams may be too aligned with big developers.
Vito Pitta, an attorney for Adams’ campaign, insisted that the mayor’s success in tackling crime and job losses was boosting donations.
“Our campaign is on track to raise the maximum amount it can spend under the city’s campaign finance system, just 18 months after the mayor took office, because New Yorkers see Mayor Adams is reducing crime, increasing employment and moving our city in the right direction,” Pitta said in a statement.
The spending cap for the 2025 primaries is $7.9 million. Under the city’s generous public financing system, his campaign is expected to have about $4.6 million available, after matching funds are included.
Mr. Adams has faced a number of setbacks in recent weeks. His approval rating dropped to 46 percent in a Siena College survey last month. An old associate of his was cashed in a straw donor scheme to raise money for his mayoral campaign; the mayor was not involved. The New York Times reported that a photo of a police officer killed in the line of duty of him, which the mayor said had been in his wallet for a long time, was created by employees at the mayor’s office last year, and was made to look old.
The mayor also drew attention for his response last month to an 84-year-old tenant rights activist whose family had fled the Holocaust. The mayor publicly compared her to a plantation owner after believing the activist had been disrespectful to him.
Still, Adams, a Democrat who ran for office on a public safety message, could be hard to beat in 2025.
You’re likely looking forward to displaying a large war chest to fend off a serious competitor. He won a competitive 2021 Democratic primary by just 7,197 votes.
“The higher the fundraising number, the less likely it is that someone else will be in the race,” said Chris Coffey, a former campaign manager for Andrew Yang, one of the mayor’s main opponents in 2021.
Mr. Coffey said the mayor’s low approval rating was not overly concerning, noting that Michael R. Bloomberg, the former mayor, had a approval rating as low as 24 percent in his second year in office and still won two more terms.
“If the city has made progress on public safety, it’s very difficult for the mayor to challenge for re-election,” Coffey said.
Once again, the real estate industry also provided the largest donor base for Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Buffalo Democrat who narrowly won a full four-year term in November. Of the $4.5 million his campaign raised in the first six months of the year, more than $950,000 came from real estate developers and investors, and more from other industries with business before the state, according to an analysis of his public filings by The Times.
At least 45 real estate industry-related donors chipped in $18,000, the new legal maximum for statewide candidates, including Holliday, Scott Rechler and Jeff Blau. Both Mr. Rechler and Mr. Blau are Democratic megadonors whose companies are competing with Mr. Holliday to obtain a license to operate a casino in the New York City area.
With New York facing an affordable housing crisis, Ms. Hochul has spent much of the year fighting for new government programs to spur development. On Tuesday, she announced that she would bypass opponents in the legislature and take executive action that had been a priority of the real estate industry.
Other major donors included members of the Sands family, which controls Rochester-based beverage giant Constellation Brands; well-known Albany lobbyists Emily Giske, Giorgio DeRosa and the Cozen O’Connor firm; and tech executives like Uber’s Dara Khosrowshahi. Ms. Hochul also raised more than $250,000 in a fundraiser this month from board members and physicians associated with Somos Community Care, a Bronx-based nonprofit that has tapped into lucrative government health programs. .
Ms. Hochul managed to raise the sum, plus another $1.5 million for the state Democratic Party, despite stricter new contribution limits that limit individual donations to $18,000, down from nearly $70,000 in the last election cycle. For much of the period, Ms. Hochul was also dealing with riots within her political operation after The Times report led to the removal of his top political adviser.
For his part, Mr. Adams was a prolific fundraiser in 2021 and received significant support from a super PAC, which received donations from Steven A. Cohen, the hedge fund billionaire who owns the Mets and is vying for a casino license in the city. Earlier this year, SL Green hired Frank Carone, the mayor’s former chief of staff, to help with its bid to build a Caesars Palace casino in Times Square.
TO Broadway fundraiser for the mayor last month at a performance of the musical “New York, New York” was especially lucrative. The campaign raised about $600,000 at the event, which was organized by Mr. Carone, according to Evan Thies, a spokesman for the campaign.
Fred Elghanayan, founder of TF Cornerstone, a real estate firm, and Todd Cooper, founder of RIPCO Real Estate, donated to Adams’ campaign. A dozen people who work at Morgan & Morgan, a national personal injury law firm, donated a total of $25,000 to the mayor’s campaign. Four employees of Meridian Properties, another real estate firm, donated $8,400. Six people who work at another real estate firm, Top Rock Holdings, each gave the maximum of $2,100 to the mayor’s campaign.
Many donations came from out of state, including from Alex Havenick, a Miami-based gambling and cannabis entrepreneur, and David Kovacs, a Miami-based virtual reality game developer. Brock Pierce, a cryptocurrency investor who once took Mr. Adams to Puerto Rico in his private jet, donated $2,100. He listed his address as a ZIP code in Puerto Rico.
There were also many smaller donations. A senior pastor of a church in Queens donated $250 to the mayor’s campaign, as did the director of a New York City children’s theater.