John Liu Insists He Can Still Win After Being Stripped of Matching Money

John Liu vowed to win the race, despite the loss of his matching funds.

John Liu vowed to win the race, despite the loss of his matching funds.

City Comptroller John Liu vowed to fight on and claimed he could still win the mayor’s race hours after the city’s Campaign Finance Board voted to strip him of $3.5 million in public matching dollars following a string of fraud allegations–seemingly destroying even the slim chance he had of winning the primary.

Surrounded by dozens of impassioned supporters waving signs and chanting “Mayor John Liu!” in Lower Manhattan, Mr. Liu, buoyed by the support behind him, said the latest blow was just par for the course.

“For the last couple of years, I have taken body blow after body blow after body blow. But there is not going to be a knock-down here!” he exclaimed as supporters screamed his name.

Mr. Liu said he was deeply disappointed by the decision, and acknowledged that “there’s no question” the decision weakened his campaign. But he maintained he could win regardless. “We’re going to win this campaign,” he said, “not by the money that we have, but by the people we have. And at the end of the day, by the vote that will come in on September 10th.”

Mr. Liu and his supporters have long accused authorities of targeting his campaign, often suggesting that they were scared of his lefty agenda, and the candidate continued to double-down on those allegations today. (Others blamed the members of the board, who are appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and one of his opponents, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.)

“Let’s put it this way,” Mr. Liu told the crowd. “There’s no question that there are some pretty powerful forced in this city who do not want to see me mayor.”

His allies were willing to go farther in their accusations today.

“Because he’s a real threat to the status quo of this city,” said Arthur Cheliotes, president of Local 1180, when Mr. Liu was asked why some people might want him out of the race. “They’re afraid of you ’cause you say the truth. You challenge them.”

“At the end of the day, this is a political hit. We all know a political hit when we see one,” added Norman Seabrook, president of the Correction Officers’ union.

Mr. Liu and his supporters further claimed the ruling would only make their resolve stronger, as the primary campaign enters its final stretch.

“This whole situation is an outrage! It is unconstitutional … And guess what? They have awakened a series of sleeping giants,” said supporter Chris Owens. “We are going to mobilize and we are going to win.”

After the press conference, Mr. Cheliotes told reporters that his union was considering all options, including independent expenditures as well as potentially violating other campaign finance rules to try to even the playing field following the ruling.

“If the campaign matching funds don’t apply,” he challenged, “then why do the restrictions?”

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