Hedge funders split on NYC mayoral race

By Lawrence Delevingne

Tue Aug 6, 2013

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Soros likes de Blasio, Icahn boosts Lhota, and Lasry sits out.

   Marc Lasry (Photo: Bloomberg)
In the race to succeed Mike Bloomberg as mayor of New York City, hedge fund managers aren't unifying behind any candidate--and some appear to be avoiding the campaign altogether.

"I'm staying out of the mayor's race," Avenue Capital co-founder Marc Lasry told Absolute Return by email. "[I'm] not supporting anyone."

Lasry, a prominent Democratic fundraiser and friend of the Clintons, gave $4,950 to Anthony Weiner in 2007 but appears to have turned away from the embattled candidate. Lasry also gave $1,000 to John Liu in his race for Comptroller in 2007, according to New York City Campaign Finance Board records.

Others, of course, are in the mix.

"I’m supporting Christie Quinn for her support of education reform," Third Point's Dan Loeb told Absolute Return via email, a move consistent with his work on the issue. "In fact we are hosting a fundraiser for her."

While Loeb is supporting the Democratic frontrunner, he raised money for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in the 2012 election after souring on Barack Obama. Loeb also gave $4,500 to support Democrat Scott Stringer in his bid to be city Comptroller.

Richard Perry of Perry Partners is also supporting Quinn: he gave her campaign $1,000, according to city records.

Longtime liberal booster George Soros is supporting a more leftist politician.

"New York’s next mayor needs to possess conviction, intelligence, and a clear vision for where they want to take the city. I believe Bill de Blasio possesses these qualities and will be an outstanding mayor for all New Yorkers," Soros said today in a statement. The retired founder of Soros Fund Management praised liberal candidate de Blasio for his commitment to education, campaign finance reform and ending stop-and-frisk policing tactics.

And Carl Icahn, chairman of Icahn Associates Corp., is backing Republican Joe Lhota as evidenced by a $4,950 donation earlier this year.

Many New York-based hedge fund managers traditionally active in politics have not made donations to any candidate, according to city records.

The no-shows include left-leaning Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management, Jim Chanos of Kynikos Associates and Eric Mindich of Eton Park Capital Management. Right-leaning absentees include John Paulson of Paulson & Co., Julian Robertson of Tiger Management, Leon Cooperman of Omega Advisors and Paul Singer of Elliott Management Corporation. None of the men responded to requests for comment directly or through their public relations representatives.

The city-wide primaries on September 10 feature several others with hedge fund connections.

As Comptroller, mayoral candidate Liu directs city pension funds, $2.2 billion of which are invested in hedge funds. Public Advocate candidate Reshma Saujani was a hedge fund lawyer before entering politics; she worked at Carret Asset Management, Carlyle-Blue Wave Partners and Fortress Investment Group. And Kristin Davis, a former hedge fund employee better known as the "Manhattan Madam," is running for Comptroller (she has previously run for governor and mayor). One of her opponents is none other than " Sheriff of Wall Street" Elliot Spitzer (Update: Davis was arrested yesterday for the alleged illegal sale of prescription pills).

The general election is November 5.

ISSN: 2151-1845 / CDC10004H

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