Hedge Funders Pick Their New York Mayoral Candidates

Aug 8 2013 | 9:49am ET

The hedge fund industry's political power players are taking sides in the New York City's mayoral race.

Most notably this week, billionaire George Soros—one of the most well-heeled of liberal donors—threw his support behind Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who is seen as the most left-leaning of the Democratic candidates but whose campaign has won little traction in the race to succeed the term-limited Michael Bloomberg.

"He has the talent, vision and ability to lead New York City," Soros wrote in his endorsement, citing de Blasio's pledge to stop the New York City Police Department's controversial "stop-and-frisk" policy as well as his education and campaign finance policies.

Third Point's Daniel Loeb, who went from being one of President Barack Obama's most enthusiastic supporters in 2008 to one of failed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's fiercest backers four years later, has lined up behind the front-runner, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

"I'm supporting Christie Quinn for her support of education reform," Loeb told Absolute Return. "In fact, we are hosting a fundraiser for her."

Quinn also boasts Perry Partners' Richard Perry in her camp; he has donated $1,000 to her campaign.

On the Republican side, Carl Icahn has given $4,950 to Joe Lhota, the former chairman of the Metropolitan Transit Administration.

But many other politically-active hedgies are steering clear of the race. Avenue Capital Group's Marc Lasry, a major backer of Bill and Hillary Clinton, told AR that he's "staying out of the mayor's race" and "not supporting anyone." Lasry backed then-Rep. Anthony Weiner in 2007. Weiner is back in the race, but his campaign has all-but-imploded amidst revelations that the former congressman, who was forced to resign over sexually-explicit messages and photographs he sent to women other than his wife, had continued sending such messages as much as a year after his resignation.

Also steering clear are Pershing Square Capital Management's William Ackman, Kynikos Associates' James Chanos, Omega Advisors' Leon Cooperman, Eton Park Capital Management's Eric Mindich, John Paulson, Tiger Management's Julian Robertson and Elliott Management's Paul Singer.

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