NEW YORK (WIVB) – So what’s the deal with campaign contributions?
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld was among the most prominent donors listed in Gov. Kathy Hochul’s eye-popping financial disclosure forms that were released this week. Seinfeld’s $50,000 gift was one of the largest she received in the five months since declaring her candidacy.
Hochul touted her $21.6 million fundraising haul as “the largest contribution total for any single filing period in New York history,” adding that it crushed the previous record of $12.8 million raised in 2002 by incumbent Gov. George Pataki.
Seinfeld, a registered Democrat, does not have any other individual contributions listed on the state or federal campaign finance websites. His wife, Jessica, is a frequent donor on the national scene and gave $5,000 to then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2017.
Other big names who contributed to Hochul’s coffers included New York Mets owner and hedge fund manager Steve Cohen ($136,700 total along with his wife, plus an in-kind contribution of $1,935); Miami Dolphins owner and real estate developer Stephen Ross ($69,700); and former Empire State Development CEO Howard Zemsky ($50,000 each from he and his wife). City and State noted fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg and her husband, former Twentieth Century Fox CEO Barry Diller, were also on the list for $75,000 combined (plus a $9,077 in-kind contribution), while New York Islanders owners Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin gave $50,000 each.
Seinfeld’s $50,000 contribution was tied for the 44th-largest donation on Hochul’s list. The state limit for individual donations in the governor’s race in 2021 was set at $69,700 ($22,600 for the primary plus $47,100 for the general), and 32 donors gave the Hochul the maximum amount in the latest filing period.
Hochul’s campaign reported having $21.3 million cash on hand. A Siena poll this week found Hochul remains the heavy favorite to win the Democratic nomination for governor, leading the second-place candidate by 30 points. The primary election will be held in June.