6 days ago

Small Donors Spurn Governor Cuomo

Small Donors Spurn Governor Cuomo

This year, Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) has grown steadily less subtle about his national political ambitions. Yet as the New York Times reports today, his staggering lack of small donor support could present a serious stumbling block to his presidential dreams. According to the Times, just .1% of the campaign contributions Governor Cuomo has received since 2015 have been under $200:

Yet as the New York Times reports today, his staggering lack of small donor support could present a serious stumbling block to his presidential dreams. According to the Times, just .1% of the campaign contributions Governor Cuomo has received since 2015 have been under $200:

“Since the beginning of 2015, Mr. Cuomo has raised more than 99 percent of his campaign money from donations larger than $1,000 and nearly 99.9 percent of his funds from donors who gave at least $200, according to an analysis by The New York Times. At one point last year, Mr. Cuomo went six months without reporting a single individual donor who gave less than $200.”

As Bernie Sanders’ digital fund-raising manager Michael Whitney put it, “you almost have to try to have that few” small dollar donors. Governor Cuomo’s reliance on mega-donors is an especially serious liability, if he becomes a presidential candidate, because of the lower contributions limits for federal candidates:

“’Small-dollar fund-raising and online fund-raising has been a nonnegotiable for both Obama campaigns, for Bernie and Hillary,’ said Betsy Hoover, the director of digital organizing for President Obama’s 2012 campaign. ‘It’s hard to imagine what a serious presidential looks like that doesn’t get that kind of buy-in and participation from a broader swath of donors.’”

Governor Cuomo’s reliance on big donors is also drawing criticism back home in New York. One of his potential primary challengers, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said Governor Cuomo’s fundraising shows his political appeal is limited to the “powerful vested, moneyed interests”:

“’It shows who he does appeal to — which is powerful vested, moneyed interests,’ said Stephanie Miner, a Democrat and the mayor of Syracuse who is contemplating challenging Mr. Cuomo in a primary. If she were to run, Ms. Miner said her campaign would follow ‘the Bernie Sanders, Howard Dean, Daily Kos model’ of seeking small contributions online.”

Time and again, Governor Cuomo’s political ambitions have led him to put his interests above those of the average New Yorker. As these fundraising numbers show, those New Yorkers have noticed and responded with their wallets.