It's no secret that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is an outspoken supporter of gay rights. During the contentious debate that preceded the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York State, he played a key role in attempting to convince Republicans to vote "yes." Now, after four GOP state senators complied with his request, Bloomberg has donated the maximum amount possible ($10,300) to their campaigns.
The senators -- James Alesi, Mark Grisanti, Roy McDonald and Stephen Saland -- are all running for re-election and this generous infusion of cash will surely assist them in their campaigns. These generous donations may be only a drop in the bucket for a man who has billions in his own personal coffers, but they serve as something greater -- a "thank you" of sorts for the four men who ensured victory in the tight vote (33 to 29) that solidified gay marriage in the state.
These gifts should serve as no surprise. Back in May, Bloomberg threatened to back senators who voiced their support for gay marriage. He also warned that he would potentially withhold his financial support for those who did not. He said, "I certainly will concentrate and focus more on those that do." Bloomberg's own staff members have substantiated the claim that these gifts serve as a reward. The NY Daily News has more:
"The mayor said he would support Senate Republicans who stood up - and he did," said Micah Lasher, a top Bloomberg aide...
Bloomberg, who traveled twice to the Capitol to lobby for gay weddings, was listed as having made his donation on July 8 - two weeks after the historic vote.
While the aforementioned senators have secured Bloomberg's financial support, re-election prospects may be tough for some of them. The Daily Caller reports:
New York Conservative Party leader Michael Long said after the vote that each had lost the party’s ballot line for re-election. The senators may also face primary challenges.
Grisanti, a freshman senator from Buffalo, may have a back-up plan. After several members of his party criticized him for his vote, Grisanti told reporters in Albany, “I’m not saying I will rule it out” about switching parties.
Like Bloomberg, Grisanti and his cohorts may need to consider some party maneuvering if they plan to stay in office. Interestingly, Grisanti, who has raised $153,469.19 in the second quarter, has some new streams of revenue coming in from more progressive advocates. The Buffalo News reports:
The donations included...$10,000 from Colorado resident Tim Gill, who heads a group that has promoted gay marriage laws here and in other states.
Other donors to Grisanti who have publicly backed gay marriage rights include $5,000 from Miami-area resident Jonathan Kislak, $2,000 from Carol Master of Massachusetts, $10,000 from Albany-area resident Frank Selvaggi and $5,000 from Manhattan real estate developer Donald Capoccia.
There's no telling how these four campaigns will shape up. But, without much effort, one can easily see that securing campaign cash from Bloomberg is easy: Simply agree with him and the cash will come rolling in.