Billionaire Bloomberg spent more than $77 million on re-election
NEW YORK – Billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent more than $77 million to get re-elected, breaking the $74 million record he set in 2001 during his first try at politics, according to campaign finance reports released Monday.The spending amounts to more than $103 per vote.Bloomberg was elected in a landslide Nov. 8 over Democrat Fernando Ferrer, who had trouble raising money and spent just over $9 million during the race.The candidates will file a final report early next year, so the numbers are expected to grow slightly.No mayor has ever spent so much to get re-elected, and few candidates have come close to that kind of spending for any office, other than president.Bloomberg, who founded the media company that bears his name, tapped his $5 billion personal fortune to bankroll his campaign. Bloomberg defended his right to spend as he wishes.”It is what it is,” he said Monday. “I’ve spent my own money. I had a big message to get out and we did get the message out.”Bloomberg pummeled Ferrer by nearly 20 points, gaining 753,089 votes to Ferrer’s 503,219. The mayor’s win fell just fractions of a percentage point shy of breaking the city record for a GOP victory margin over a Democrat, which Mayor Fiorello La Guardia still holds from 1937.The executive director of the public interest group Common Cause New York, Rachel Leon, said Bloomberg’s level of spending “really does put democracy at risk.””Wealth is almost the No. 1 factor in assessing a candidacy now,” she said. “How much of a bankroll you have right now is as important as any other piece.”Bloomberg funneled most of his cash into an avalanche of advertising and an extensive voter database that enabled the campaign to tailor its message and change its strategy day by day.