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New York - New York City Mayor Tests Chilly Waters For Presidential Run

Published on: April 14, 2019 02:00 PM
By: AP
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FILE - This March 17, 2019 file photo shows New York Mayor Bill de Blasio listening as he speaks before a group of people at a restaurant in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Hunter Woodall)FILE - This March 17, 2019 file photo shows New York Mayor Bill de Blasio listening as he speaks before a group of people at a restaurant in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Hunter Woodall)

New York -  At 6 feet, 5 inches tall, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio stands out in a crowd. But does he have any shot of standing out in the packed field of potential Democratic candidates for president?

A would-be progressive standard bearer, de Blasio has spent the past few months exploring a run, traveling to events in early primary states including New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, and appearing on “The Simpsons” and “The View.”

So far, scant evidence of enthusiasm for his candidacy has emerged. He’s drawn sparse crowds — or no crowds at all — at his out-of-state speaking engagements.

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A recent Quinnipiac University poll found 76% of New York City voters believe their mayor should not run.

The headlines chronicling his flirtations with the race have been snarky at best, including The New Republic ‘s “Bill de Blasio’s Embarrassing Quest for National Fame” and Vanity Fair ‘s “Lord Help us, Bill de Blasio is Still Thinking About Running for President.”

De Blasio has been undeterred.

“I’m glad I could unify the people of New York City,” he quipped when asked about the Quinnipiac poll. “My whole history has been as an insurgent and an underdog,” he said in an earlier TV interview .

Observers of New York politics say even if de Blasio doesn’t have much chance of winning, a run could raise his profile and possibly position him for a role in another Democrat’s administration.

“Part of what he’s doing is campaigning for a chance to be in the Cabinet or maybe an ambassador,” said Mitchell Moss, an urban policy professor at New York University and onetime adviser to de Blasio’s predecessor, Michael Bloomberg. “By acting as a candidate, you raise your profile politically. You’re not just known as the mayor of New York, you’re known as a person with national aspirations.”

Term limits prevent De Blasio, 57, from running for mayor again after 2021.

“When you’re term-limited and you’re looking for a new job, why not try the obvious path? It’s free publicity,” said veteran political consultant George Arzt.

A former city councilman, public advocate and federal housing official, de Blasio was elected in 2013 pledging to fight the inequities he said had turned New York into “two cities,” one rigged to benefit the rich and another impossible to navigate for the poor.

In that race he’d also been an underdog. The early favorite was City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who would have been New York City’s first female mayor. Former congressman Anthony Weiner joined the race and was briefly the front-runner until he embroiled in another sex scandal.

FILE - This March 2, 2019 file photo shows New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray between innings of a spring training baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles in Fort Myers, Fla. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)FILE - This March 2, 2019 file photo shows New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray between innings of a spring training baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles in Fort Myers, Fla. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

Voters, though, went for de Blasio in the Democratic primary, partly on the strength of ads featuring his biracial family. In the general election, he easily pushed aside a respected Republican civil servant, Joe Lhota, who had criticized him as a “socialist.” In the early moments of his mayoralty, he seemed to have a shot at becoming a national voice on the left.

In office, de Blasio won praise for expanding full-day prekindergarten citywide and for curtailing stop-and-frisk policing.

But he also developed a reputation for self-inflicted wounds.

Early in his tenure, he offended the state’s governor, fellow Democrat Andrew Cuomo, who then spent years taking every opportunity to embarrass and belittle de Blasio.

Federal prosecutors investigated de Blasio’s political operation over possible campaign finance law violations before deciding not to press charges. Two of his donors pleaded guilty to charges related to contributions to de Blasio.

De Blasio also narrowly avoided a federal takeover of the city’s troubled public housing authority.

He easily won re-election in 2017, but liberals turned elsewhere for inspiration, most recently to freshman U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

De Blasio has also governed more like a business-friendly centrist than some of his liberal supporters expected. He backed a deal to offer Amazon nearly $3 billion in incentives for a headquarters in New York, only to see the deal collapse when the company got frustrated with local opposition.

A March 11 Monmouth poll found that 18% of Democratic voters nationwide had a favorable opinion of de Blasio while 24% have an unfavorable view.

Still, de Blasio has pulled off come-from-behind wins before, including in 2009 when he ran for the citywide position of public advocate.

Arzt, who was de Blasio’s spokesman during that race, remembers feeling dejected when a poll pegged de Blasio’s support at 9% of likely Democratic primary voters, compared to 42% for the front-runner.

FILE - This Feb, 23, 2019 file photo shows New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio as he gives his autograph to Sandi O'Brien, left, of Sioux City, left, before an event hosted by the local Democratic party in Sioux City, Iowa. APFILE - This Feb, 23, 2019 file photo shows New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio as he gives his autograph to Sandi O'Brien, left, of Sioux City, left, before an event hosted by the local Democratic party in Sioux City, Iowa. AP

“He didn’t lose any sense of optimism,” Arzt said of de Blasio. “He just looked at it and said, ‘That’s the highest he gets and that’s our floor.’ And he won.”

Asked Friday in a radio interview whether he is contemplating running for president, de Blasio reiterated that he has “not ruled it out.”

In hinting at a White House campaign, de Blasio joins a long line of New York City mayors who have run for president or flirted with doing so, including John Lindsay in 1972, Rudy Giuliani in 2008 and Bloomberg, who announced last month he would not seek the 2020 Democratic nomination.

“There is something about being mayor of New York that makes them all feel they should be and could be president,” Moss said.

None were able to make the leap. De Blasio may or may not be the next to try.



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Read Comments (9)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Apr 14, 2019 at 02:06 PM Anonymous Says:

I wonder who is paying for the trips of the stupid DeBozo to Iowa?
I guess it must be the New York City taxpayer, You voted for this putz you deserve what will eventually become of the city, Bankruptcy.

2

 Apr 14, 2019 at 02:18 PM yonasonw Says:

Nobody wants you, De Blasio.

3

 Apr 14, 2019 at 02:20 PM Educated Archy Says:

A man was driving down the highway when he noticed a state trooper trying to pull him over. He sped away. When the state trooper caught up to him, he said "Son, it's been a long day. If you can tell me one good excuse that I haven't heard before, you're free to go."
The man replied "I'm sorry, but my wife ran off with a state trooper and I thought you were bringing her back."
"You're out of luck then" said the trooper.
"Why?", asked the man. "Has someone else told you this?"
"No", the trooper replied. "Sally's in the back.

4

 Apr 14, 2019 at 03:07 PM Anonymous Says:

To #3-The great Archy- You already posted that silly story about the state trooper with Sally, at least one other time (possibly two). How many other times are you going to post it? You've made your point.

Regarding deBlasio, in 1972, when John V. Lindsay was Mayor of NYC, he ran in several presidential primaries, and was soundly rejected. The country didn't want him, any more than they would want this big schlub clown!

5

 Apr 14, 2019 at 03:16 PM Educated Archy Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

To #3-The great Archy- You already posted that silly story about the state trooper with Sally, at least one other time (possibly two). How many other times are you going to post it? You've made your point.

Regarding deBlasio, in 1972, when John V. Lindsay was Mayor of NYC, he ran in several presidential primaries, and was soundly rejected. The country didn't want him, any more than they would want this big schlub clown!

You only say that because you are the guy in the story! You are embarrassed that you married a woman you never loved!

6

 Apr 14, 2019 at 08:42 PM Cixelsyd_Wnosanoy Says:

I think he should run in Cuba or Venezuela

7

 Apr 14, 2019 at 08:47 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
Educated Archy Says:

You only say that because you are the guy in the story! You are embarrassed that you married a woman you never loved!

They asked a 100 couples, would you remarry your spouse now, and don't include the kids when thinking how to respond, because they weren't around when you first married,.92 couples didn't respond !!!

8

 Apr 14, 2019 at 09:19 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

I wonder who is paying for the trips of the stupid DeBozo to Iowa?
I guess it must be the New York City taxpayer, You voted for this putz you deserve what will eventually become of the city, Bankruptcy.

"city,Bankruptcy" That will be the end of Trump since most of his buildings are in SANCTUARY Cities like NY. " I hope you are right. We will gladly suffer a little to end this nightmare. Go DBlasio Go.

9

 Apr 14, 2019 at 10:32 PM PaulinSaudi Says:

People ought to think of their country and their party. Neither needs another candidate. He would do well to find someone he can support and throw his weight behind him.

10

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