Here's a shocker. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has outdone himself once again.
The billionaire has broken his own spending record from four years ago, dropping $85.2 million on his campaign for a third term with 11 days to go until Election Day.
But he hasn't just outdone himself. He's spent more of his personal money than any other individual in the nation's history seeking public office, according to a report.
The mayor, whose estimated $17.5 billion fortune makes him the wealthiest person in New York City, does not take donations and can spend his money as he wishes. He must report his expenditures to the city's Campaign Finance Board.
The latest campaign records show Bloomberg, as of Friday, had spent $85 million on his campaign for a third term, and he's on pace to shell out between $110 million and $140 million before the election on Nov. 3, reports The New York Times.
All together, the media mogul will have easily spent more than $250 million in his three mayoral campaigns. That's what Warner Bros. spent on the most recent Harry Potter movie, reports the Times. Heck of a comparison.
Bloomberg's personal campaign bankroll far surpasses what other wealthy politicians have shelled out over the years. New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine has spent $130 million in two campaigns for governor and one for U.S. Senate, reports the Times. Steve Forbes spent $114 million in his two presidential campaigns.
"I have never seen anything like this – it's off the charts," Jennifer Steen, a Yale political science lecturer who has studied self-financed candidates, told the Times of Bloomberg's campaign expenditures.
And Bloomberg's wealth and renown has helped give him a significant lead in the race.
The popular billionaire was 16 points ahead of Democrat William Thompson Jr. in a Marist poll released this week but has been spending at a rate of more than $850,000 a day.
Thompson, who had been having trouble raising money, reported raising $270,000. He has spent about $6 million of the $8 million he has collected in donations and matching funds. His fundraising continues to lag behind previous Democratic nominees, and the latest Marist poll indicates he has been losing ground in his challenge to Bloomberg.
Over the most recent 21-day period evaluated, Thompson spent $270,000, compared with $543,511 spent by Mark Green in 2001 and $696,240 spent by Fernando Ferrer in 2005.
Bloomberg defends his exorbitant spending as a cost of running on the GOP line in a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans by a ratio of 5 to 1.
He sought to portray Thompson as having the advantage.
"This city is overwhelmingly Democratic, and so he does start out with an awful lot of people who will vote the party line ... and I have to deal with that,'' Bloomberg said this week.
"I'm not trying to spend money that I don't think is necessary,'' added Bloomberg, who is not registered with a party but is running on the Republican and Independent Party lines.
Republicans have won New York City races with far less.
In 1993, Rudy Giuliani spent $9 million and beat Democratic incumbent David Dinkins. Adjusted for inflation, that's like spending $13.5 million in 2009.
Four years later, Giuliani spent $12 million -- which is like $16.1 million today -- and sailed to re-election over Democrat Ruth Messinger, winning by double-digits.