In front of his Park Slope row home, with a solid crowd of supporters braving the sub-freezing weather and waving newly printed red “de Blasio for Mayor” signs, New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio officially announced his intention to run for mayor. He joins former City Comptroller Bill Thompson and former City Councilman Sal Albanese as the only Democrats to declare their candidacy thus far.
De Blasio has not been shy about making his family the public face of his campaign and today was no exception as his son, Dante, and wife, Chirlane, led off the event, highlighting de Blasio’s devotion as a father, husband and public servant. De Blasio followed with a speech that touched on his difficult upbringing, mentioning his father’s post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism that drove him out of his life, while focusing on public education as one of the hallmarks of his campaign–noting that he would be the first mayor to serve office with a child in public school.
De Blasio also wasted no time in revving up some sharp campaign rhetoric, going after Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his “elitist” policies–he invoked his familiar refrain of New York City becoming “a tale of two cities” that caters extensively to the wealthy–or firing subliminal shots at his rival (and current Democratic frontrunner according to the most recent polls) City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. Without mentioning Quinn by name, he cited inaction on paid sick leave legislation–currently stalled by the Speaker’s office in City Council–and the “backroom deal” that allowed Bloomberg to serve a third term, which Quinn helped facilitate by shepherding through the Council.
“New York City has a long been a Democratic town, but there are real differences among the Democratic candidates and the choice among them will define our future,” de Blasio said. “There are some who believe that Mayor Bloomberg’s policies from the last 12 years just need to be tweaked here and there, and that his vision should continue more or less uninterrupted for the next four years. There are others who practice a politics of the moment, who are heroic in election years but not engaged in the fight to save our neighborhoods when their names aren’t on the ballot. I have a different point of view, I will be a mayor for our neighborhoods every day.”
After the announcement, as his supporters were milling around the block mingling with one another, actress Cynthia Nixon–of “Sex And The City” fame–held court discussing her reasons for supporting de Blasio. A reporter asked Nixon how involved she would be in de Blasio’s campaign, to which she responded: “I think I will be more involved than any other campaign that I’ve ever been involved in because I think it will be such a tremendous thing for New York if he was our next mayor.”