NEW YORK -- The federal corruption probe into whether Mayor Eric Adams received illegal foreign campaign donations from Turkey could open the door for a primary challenge when he seeks re-election in 2025.
Neither Adams nor anyone else in his campaign has been charged with anything, but if the raid on the home of his chief fundraiser did one thing it was to get the buzzards circling, hoping they might have a chance to take him out.
"He needs to worry about a challenge from the progressives, if they can coalesce around a particular candidate, and even potentially from a well-funded, more moderate independent candidate," said Basil Smikle, a professor at Hunter College.
"It makes him vulnerable to the standpoint of it presents a path that an opponent can try to bring up," added campaign expert O'Brien Murray.
The 2025 mayoral election is eons away and a lot can happen in an eon, but it's clear that mayoral wannabees -- and there are always mayoral wannabees -- are keeping a close eye on the developments in the federal probe into whether Team Adams conspired with the Turkish government to receive illegal campaign donations.
But the optics ofwere not good for him.
"It looked like he panicked and it looked like he really had to address something that from the voters' standpoint may not have required that sense of urgency," Smikle said.
When, they were looking for information about contributions made by KSK Construction, a Williamsburg company with ties to Turkey, and Bay Atlantic University, a small college in Washington that also has ties to Turkey and to the mayor.
A review of campaign finance records by CBS New York found that 11 people employed by KSK, including owner Erdan Arkan, all made contributions to the Adams campaign on the same day, Sept. 7, 2021. Nine of the contributions were for the same amount, $1,250. While most of the contributors live in the five boroughs, one lives in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and another in Cliffside Park, New Jersey.
Five employees of Bay Atlantic University each made contributions of $2,000 each on the same date, Sept. 27, 2021. None live in the New York metropolitan area.
A campaign spokesman told CBS New York that all five contributions were returned several weeks later.
"What the mayor does have in his favor is that he's still very, very popular with his base. So as long as he can hold on to that, he should have a relatively smooth re-elect," Smikle said.
There is one conspiracy theory making the rounds that the mayor's frayed relations with the White House may be behind the probe. After all, he has been attacking President Joe Biden over the migrant crisis for over a year.
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