Spitzer’s spending: $271K for petitioning push, $2M in media buys

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Eliot Spitzer's last-minute push to secure a spot on the ballot cost him $271,831, according to a new filing with the city's Campaign Finance Board.

In all, Spitzer has spent just over $2.5 million since entering the primary race for city comptroller in early July, which includes more than $2 million in media buys.

Spitzer declared his candidacy on July 7, leaving him just a few days to collect the requisite signatures to secure a spot on the Democratic primary ballot, opposite Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer, who had previously been running opposed.

Spitzer's campaign scrambled to assemble a petition-gathering team, with rumors of large payouts for field workers, and a petitioning party at the Manhattan restaurant Sprig, that cost more than $11,000, according to the filing.

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The largest petitioning expense was $155,000 to the consultant Jonathan Trichter. Spitzer also lists an in-kind contribution of $55,000 from himself related to petitioning, and paid $33,000 to the BrownMiller Group. He paid $1,740 to Bill Lynch Associates, the consultancy established by Lynch, the longtime consultant who passed away yesterday.

The actual petitioning costs are probably even higher, with a $10,000 payment to the election lawyer Marty Connor that is categorized as legal services, and more than $100,000 in other payments to BrownMiller and individual campaign staff, which are broadly labeled as field expenses.

Stringer has criticized Spitzer for spending from his family's own personal fortune rather than participating in the city's campaign finance system, which has capped Stringer's own spending at $6 million. Spitzer has shrugged off that criticism, calling it "petulant" and saying he'll spend whatever it takes to get his message out. Last week, he told the city's campaign finance board last week that he plans to spend less than $12 million.

Stringer has spent more than $853,000 so far, according to his filing, including $101,800 in polling costs paid last week. He has booked more than $2 million in television air time for the weeks before the September 10 primary.

Outside groups that oppose Spitzer's candidacy have promised to supplement Stringer's spending.

UPDATE: A spokesperson for Stringer, Audrey Gelman, sent along a statement in response to Spitzer's petioning payments:

"Eliot Spitzer spent more per day getting his name on the ballot than the average New York City voter makes in a year. The old Eliot supported eradicating big money from politics, but quickly abandoned these principles when they were no longer convenient for him. New York City deserves a comptroller guided by integrity and good judgment, not one who applies one set of rules to himself and another set to everyone else." 

UPDATE: Hari Sevugnan, a spokesman for Spitzer, also sent a statement, suggesting Stringer is "flustered":

"Unlike Mr. Stringer, Eliot is not a career politician with the power and money of the political and financial establishment propping up his campaign. Nor has he been perpetually running for office while ingratiating himself with the city's most powerful interests every step along the way.  We needed to, and are proud of running an independent campaign, that has consistently earned the support of the majority of New Yorkers in poll after poll.
"We understand Mr Stringer is flustered that he won't be able to coast into this seat as he and his handlers had planned, but voters deserve a choice in this race between the establishment voice he would bring, and the independent voice Eliot would offer in the comptroller's office."