Monday, May 18, 2009

So, why did FCR's Gilmartin give mayoral candidate Thompson $400?

In the season's first report of campaign contributions, there are only six contributions from Forest City Ratner employees, to six different candidates in city political races, and the contributions are relatively small. So there's no reason to think it's a coordinated effort.

But the most curious contribution is $400 from MaryAnne Gilmartin, who heads the Atlantic Yards project, to Democrat Bill Thompson, the mayoral candidate and current Comptroller. (Click to enlarge)


Thompson has to be considered a long shot candidate, and Forest City Ratner is certainly most comfortable with Mayor Mike Bloomberg, a steady backer of Atlantic Yards.

Gilmartin on Bloomberg

Gilmartin in a public speech just after term limits were overturned last October, seemed to praise the mayor: "So I think the future holds great buildings that are also sustainable buildings. That we’ll be challenged by economic times, but in those challenging times creates great opportunities... If we have a great mayor, and I hope that we do, I think that this next five-year period represents tremendous opportunities for New York to build great buildings...”

Gilmartin made her contribution on September 13 of last year, after discussion of Bloomberg's plan had surfaced but before he actually went forward with it

So, was the contribution to Thompson just a courtesy? A personal connection of some sort? An insurance policy? A belief that he was the frontrunner at the time?

I have to think Bloomberg--who's been vastly outspending his potential rivals--will forgive her.

1 comment:

  1. I suspect that gilmartin was testing the waters with her contribution to thompson's campaign.

    She wanted to see if thompson was willing to play ball with ratner, i.e. "let's make a deal", because thompson knows full well that there's a lot more campaign money from where that $400 originated.

    Since there were no further contributions to thompson from the ratner camp, it looks like thompson didn't take the bait.

    Bloomberg's lead over thompson in the polls is not as insurmountable as many in the media make it out to be.

    A 10 to 15 point lead 6 months before the general election, with both candidates under 50%, is still a very competitive race.

    Especially when you factor in the historic inaccuracy and unreliability of polls (see rudy giuliani's and hillary clinton's big lead in the polls during 2007-08 presidential primaries).

    Early polling numbers are usually just a reflection of candidate name recognition among the public.

    Once voters becomes more familiar with BOTH candidates, public opinion can change dramatically.

    Considering the amount of money he is spending on his campaign, bloomberg certainly seems to think the mayorship is up for grabs.

    If thompson raises a respectable amount of money and runs a smart and aggressive campaign, the mayorship is his for the taking, regardless of all the "bloomberg is a lock in november" chatter coming from pro-bloomberg members of the media.

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