LATEST PAPER
54° Good Morning
54° Good Morning
NewsElections

Presidential speculation swirling, Bill de Blasio sets Iowa stop

The mayor also is slated to appear early Thursday on ABC's "Good Morning America," joined by his wife, Chirlane McCray.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has been teasing a

Mayor Bill de Blasio has been teasing a presidential run since January. Photo Credit: Howard Simmons

Bill de Blasio will announce Thursday he is entering the race for president, a person with knowledge of his plans said Wednesday.

The Democrat is slated to appear live on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” joined by his wife, Chirlane McCray, the network confirmed.

He is set to visit Sioux City, Iowa, on Friday as “his first stop on his Presidential announcement tour,” according to the local Democratic club hosting him. The Truman Club posted to its Facebook page an invitation to an event featuring de Blasio, then amended the post to correct misspellings of the mayor’s name and remove the reference to his presidential bid.

De Blasio is scheduled to be in Iowa late Thursday and Friday and South Carolina on Saturday and Sunday, his campaign said. McCray will be with the mayor for part of the trip, his representatives said.

The mayor has been mulling a bid for president since January, making stops before small crowds in Iowa, New Hampshire and other states with first-in-the-nation primaries.

Polling so far has shown little appetite among voters for a de Blasio White House bid.

Seventy-six percent of city voters said he shouldn’t run for president, according to a Quinnipiac poll last month. Nationally, 1 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters said they would back him in the primary, according to a Monmouth University poll last month.

De Blasio conceded to Spectrum News NY1 earlier this month that he is unlikely to meet the fundraising threshold to qualify for next month’s Democratic National Committee debates.

“There’s a difference between ‘should he run?’ and ‘can he run?’ While we don’t need a 24th candidate running for president, he has a better case to make than many of the people in the race already,” said Rebecca Katz, a former de Blasio adviser and Democratic strategist specializing in progressive politics.

Katz, founder of New Deal Strategies, cited de Blasio’s stewardship of the country’s largest city.

“There are more kids in New York City public schools than people living in all of Montana,” she said, referencing Gov. Steve Bullock’s entry into the race earlier this week.

De Blasio’s progressive credentials are bolstered by his rollout of universal prekindergarten and paid sick and family leave, and under his leadership, the city has a dropping violent crime rate.

But his problems include a lead paint crisis in the public housing system and state and local investigations into his  fundraising practices.

De Blasio came from behind the Democratic pack to win the mayoral race in 2013, with a platform to combat income inequality.

But Katz and other top architects of that victory won’t be with him in a presidential campaign.

Bill Hyers, his 2013 campaign manager, and John Del Cecato, creator of the pivotal TV ad featuring de Blasio’s biracial son, confirmed to Newsday that they’re not joining the mayor’s 2020 team.

Former top campaign aide and press secretary Phil Walzak now is the NYPD’s deputy commissioner of public information.

And Lis Smith, another former senior adviser, spearheads communications for another mayor eyeing the White House: Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana.

Several analysts noted that as a straight, white man and progressive Democrat, de Blasio doesn’t have a “lane” that isn’t already covered by another contender in the crowded primary.

“Is there a rationale for the candidacy that’s obvious from the outside? Certainly not to me,” said Kenneth Sherrill, Hunter College political science professor emeritus. “But I can understand why he’d want to do it. And you never can tell, lightning can strike.”

Comments

We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

News photos & videos