New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said Thursday he will not run to replace Bill de Blasio as mayor in 2021, revealing an ongoing battle with depression as part of a candid and transparent statement on his campaign.
Johnson, a Democrat first elected to City Council as a representative for the 3rd District in 2013 who has held the speakership since 2018, said it's been "no secret" that he was considering a mayoral run and had paused his campaign for the last half a year as the city battled through the early stages of the pandemic.
"This challenging time has led me to rethink how I can best be of service to this city, and I have come to the conclusion that this is not the right path for me," the 38-year-old Massachusetts-born politician said. "In the same spirit of openness, I would also add that I have been dealing with some personal challenges over the past few months, namely - depression."
"I am sharing this because I know from experience the value of speaking honestly about one’s struggles. I’ve been open about my sobriety, which along with my partner and mother, has been instrumental to me during this difficult time, and my HIV status. I believe it's important to be open about this as well," Johnson's statement continued. "Too often mental health issues are shrouded in secrecy and stigmas, which causes people struggling with these issues to feel alone. I encourage anyone who is experiencing a mental health condition to seek help. I did and I am better for it."
Johnson said his announcement Thursday would not mark the end of his public life; he intends to continue serving as the City Council speaker.
"I love this city with all my heart and I believe by working together, we will come back stronger than ever," Johnson said. "Let’s continue looking out for one another and fighting for the greatest city in the world."
Johnson also wished the other candidates well in the race, which already features a crowded Democratic primary field in the first New York City election that will be determined by ranked-choice voting, with voters ranking as many as five candidates in order of preference.
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer is among those who have formally announced his mayoral candidacy. Others who have announced their intention to run include Maya Wiley, a former de Blasio counsel and former board chair of the NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board, and Loree Sutton, formerly the U.S. Army's highest-ranking psychiatrist and former Commissioner of the city's Department of Veterans' Services, a position she was appointed to by de Blasio.
Citigroup executive Ray McGuire and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams have expressed interest in running for mayor, while former New York City sanitation chief Kathryn Garcia may also enter the ring.