$65M Question: Why's Bloomberg Dissing Thompson's Small Chest?

Billionaire Mayor Mike Bloomberg's has spent 64.8 million so far to get reelected, it was revealed today -- and his campaign is actually picking on Bill Thompson's for being poor.

Bloomberg spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker pointed out that Thompson's fund raising lags behind that of Democrats who ran for Mayor in the last two elections, calling it "a strong signal that Thompson isn't generating excitement or grassroots support for his candidacy."

But if Thompson poses such a small threat, it's also worth asking why the Bloomberg campaign feels the need to spend so much money, let alone attack Thompson for not being able to compete against the richest man in New York City.

According to the Bloomberg campaign, Thompson raised under $36,000 dollars in the last week of September, which they claim is a sign that the public isn't energized behind the Democrat.

The Bloomberg campaign confirmed it spent $28.2 million dollars between July 12 and September 28th, which works out to about $1,500 per hour. Thompson's campaign spent only one-tenth of that amount during the same period: $2.8 million.

Thompson campaign spokeswoman Carly Lindauer responded: "Our Republican Mayor continues to spend millions trying to rewrite his record, but that doesn’t change the fact that under his watch unemployment is the highest it's been in 16 years and working families are leaving because the city has become so unaffordable."

The Thompson campaign received more than $2 million in matching funds in the last month alone and has nearly $4 million in the bank.   And while the spending disparity is huge, Thompson tells NBC New York he has enough time and money to compete against Bloomberg.

Bloomberg, whose fortune is estimated at $17.5 billion by Forbes magazine, does not raise money and is allowed by law to spend as he wishes on his campaign. He must file expense reports, and his latest was released for a Friday deadline set by the city's Campaign Finance Board.

Public opinion polls continue to find Bloomberg with a comfortable lead over Thompson. A Quinnipiac University poll last week had Bloomberg leading by 16 points.

Yet, with one month to go until Election Day, Bloomberg has spent tens of millions on advertising, millions on polling and the best strategists and consultants, and tens of thousands on staff perks like food and transportation -- expenses that city campaigns often expect their volunteers and workers to cover themselves.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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