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NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio with wife Chirlane

NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio with wife Chirlane McCray at Gracie Mansion in Manhattan on Sept. 20, 2019. De Blasio announced Friday that he will be ending his 2020 presidential bid.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is about to spend his first full week since May with just one title — mayor. Now that he's dropped out of the presidential race, he won't be leaving City Hall for Iowa or New Hampshire or South Carolina as often.

But what does the decision by de Blasio — who on Friday declined to endorse a Democrat for 2020 — mean to those who remain? 

It depends.

Because de Blasio never rose above the 1 percent mark in polls, and had raised only about $1.1 million in campaign funds, Democratic political consultant Bruce Gyory said that de Blasio's departure will have a “negligible” impact on the race — for now.

But what could matter, Gyory said, is if the New York primary on April 28 becomes important, which could happen if the remaining candidates split the earlier primaries and caucuses.

Then, de Blasio’s endorsement might carry weight, depending on whom he backs. De Blasio’s best shot for significance then, Gyory said, likely would be in endorsing Sen. Bernie Sanders, because Sen. Elizabeth Warren already has the backing of the Working Families Party.

“I think his relevance would be if Sanders could get a second wind, and [de Blasio] became [Sanders’] leading champion in New York, and that connected,” said Gyory. 

Meanwhile, back in New York City, de Blasio has the opportunity to make concrete changes on key issues. When he announced the end of his campaign, de Blasio promised to “redouble my efforts to improve the quality of life for everyday New Yorkers,” and pointed to early-childhood education for 3-year-olds, “guaranteed” health care, and a law that would give workers paid time off as his priorities. 

But Gyory pointed to larger priorities for de Blasio to tackle, including dealing with the future of Rikers Island jail, school segregation, affordable housing and property taxes. 

By focusing on New York City for the next two years, Gyory said, de Blasio could take a page from the book of a mayor he admires: Fiorello LaGuardia.

“For national purposes, he would need New York to be a really important primary to give him another shot at relevance,” Gyory said of de Blasio. “The larger question is can he avoid becoming Mr. Irrelevant as mayor. The best path for that would be to adopt that nose-to-the-grindstone style and really tackle some of the tough challenges that are before him ....”

Added Gyory: “Hope springs eternal.”

Randi F. Marshall is a member of amNewYork's editorial board.


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