De Blasio drops out

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio dropped out of the presidential race.

De Blasio drops out

“I feel I have contributed all I can”
September 20, 2019

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is dropping out of the presidential race, ending his bid for the Democratic nomination that failed to earn even a bare minimum of enthusiasm.

He made the announcement on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Friday, and published an op-ed on NBC News’ website explaining his decision.

“I have reached the point where I feel I have contributed all I can to this Democratic primary,” he wrote. “Today, I’m ending my campaign for the presidency.”

But de Blasio’s contributions weren’t immediately clear. The mayor ran one of the most left-leaning campaigns in the crowded Democratic field, but seemed to be outflanked on nearly every issue by two of the top candidates in the polls, U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. But if their policy differences were subtle, their difference in support was glaring, with the pair of New England senators drawing large crowds wherever they traveled. Warren came to Manhattan on Monday and spoke to a jam-packed crowd of thousands of New Yorkers in Washington Square Park. De Blasio notoriously drew barely more than a dozen people to some of his campaign events in Iowa. He never managed to reach the 2% support in four separate polls required to qualify for the latest Democratic Party debate.

De Blasio’s campaign has been the butt of many jokes in the four months and four days he was a candidate, and a former constituent, President Donald Trump, found the occasion fitting to make another crack.

In his essay announcing he’s leaving the race, de Blasio wrote that, as mayor, he’ll keep focusing on passing legislation guaranteeing paid vacation time for private sector workers and implementing his NYC Care plan to expand access to primary care. But New York shouldn’t expect his undivided attention – something a number of New Yorkers have been demanding during his campaign. De Blasio has always had a keen interest in promoting his brand of progressive politics beyond the five boroughs, and Politico reports that he will continue fundraising for his Fairness PAC – the political action committee he created in 2018 in part to support federal and state candidates. Despite a handful of donations to congressional campaigns in 2018, one candidate was clearly the biggest beneficiary: de Blasio.

Campaign fundraising has long been an ethical minefield for de Blasio. On Thursday, he introduced a proposal for a robust public campaign financing program on the federal level. That same day, a state ethics panel reached a settlement with three real estate developers for potentially violating lobbying law by giving to a de Blasio-affiliated political nonprofit at the mayor’s request.

And de Blasio’s failed campaign seems to have had a real effect on his popularity. In March, before he ran for president, a Siena poll found 46% of New York City residents approved of the job he was doing. By September, it had dropped to 33%

On Tuesday, a Siena poll asked almost 400 New York City Democrats who they wanted to see as president of the United States. Just one person named de Blasio.

Jeff Coltin
is a senior reporter at City & State. He covers New York City Hall.