City Public Advocate Letitia James burned through nearly all of the more than $750,000 in taxpayer matching funds in a lopsided race against a poorly funded opponent — spending $500,000 on a single Election Day expenditure, public records show.
James, a Democrat who cruised to reelection over Republican political consultant J.C. Polanco, spent about $1.7 million in total on the race, according to filings with the Campaign Finance Board. She crushed Polanco, her nearest competitor — earning 812,234 votes to his 172,601.
James was widely expected to win her reelection bid — but still filed a statement of need requesting the entire amount of matching funds, citing Polanco as a strong opponent. In doing so, she noted media coverage about the would-be pol — including stories about how little money he had raised.
Candidates are required to return matching funds they do not spend on their race — but James has just $39,018 left in her coffers, meaning the taxpayers will get back little, if anything.
James spent a whopping half-million in one day — Nov. 7, the date of the general election, when she reported the $500,000 payment to Global Strategies Group. Her campaign said the payment was for digital ads that appeared on social media sites, community and ethnic newspaper sites and other news sites — including the Daily News website.