Is New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio running for President next year? He’s one of the few Democrats with a sufficiently high national profile to not have announced his candidacy, but he’s certainly been doing everything one would expect of somebody who’s running. He formed a national PAC to raise money last year, though it didn’t exactly burn up the track in terms of donations. He’s visited early voting states and given speeches which address national matters far more than those specific to the Big Apple. He dished out five-figure donations to the state Democratic parties of Iowa and South Carolina. All that seems to be missing is an official announcement. And yet, as the New York Times pointed out yesterday, it seems that his name attracts nothing but yawns in Democratic circles.
In the fast-forming battle for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, Mr. de Blasio remains an afterthought, if he is thought of at all.
It is not for lack of trying…
But as a player in the 2020 conversation, Mr. de Blasio does not yet register even among his fellow mayors, where he holds clout as the leader of the nation’s largest city, nor among many strategists.
“There’s a sea of faces and a sea of names, and I can’t think of one conversation where he has been mentioned as someone people were hoping for,” Tracy Sefl, a Democratic political consultant, said.
Not only is de Blasio’s name missing from key Democratic conversations on the national level, but he’s not even generating any enthusiasm in his home city or state. Remember that recent poll we discussed where Kirsten Gillibrand did so poorly in New York, barely coming in ahead of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? (Keeping in mind that she won’t even be eligible to run for six more years.) Do you know who didn’t even manage to beat AOC’s numbers? Yep. Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Of course, the Mayor may be doing both himself and his party a huge favor by not jumping into the race. As we’ve covered here repeatedly, de Blasio is caught up in so many fundraising scandals right now that the oppo research files on him require terabytes of storage space. His donors, aides, and associates have been showing up in front of judges more often than they make it into their offices over the past year. One guy even pleaded guilty in court to bribing de Blasio, though the Mayor was somehow never indicted for taking the bribe.
If Bill de Blasio shows up at the Democratic primary debates his opponents will have a field day with all of this. And if he somehow won his way through to the general election, discussions of any possible corruption related to the Trump administration would be overshadowed by de Blasio’s own legal troubles. But hey, your Honor… don’t let that stop you.