New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has told associates he will run for governor of New York next year, according to a published report, potentially upending what already promised to be a historically contentious Democratic primary.
However, the last-term mayor has refused to make any public announcement about his future role. When asked Wednesday about the New York Times' report that he plans to run against Gov. Kathy Hochul, de Blasio neither confirmed nor denied the report and reiterated that he wants to continue serving the public.
"I've talked to a number of people to say, I want to continue in public service. There's a lot to do. Look I'm not going to make any political announcements. I'm only making a broad point, for the last year and a half I've had to lead the nation's largest city through the COVID crisis. I'm very proud of what the people the city has done," de Blasio said Wednesday during his news briefing.
"As we get farther down the line, when I have something more to say, I will certainly let you know," he added.
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With ample polling pointing to his unpopularity, the two-term mayor would have to take on Gov. Hochul and possibly NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams in next year's race. Also with the expected entry of Attorney General Letitia James into the contest, and persistent rumors of a comeback from former governor Andrew Cuomo, it promises to be one of the hardest-fought races in America next year.
A mid-August Co/efficient poll put De Blasio fully 20+ points behind Hochul and James in a three-way primary contest. Another August poll, from Slingshot Strategies, had De Blasio running ninth in a more crowded Democratic primary, with just 3% support.
That same poll asked voters who they could support from a list of 15 candidates, and who they absolutely could not support, and then subtracted one from the other to find a net support score. At -30, De Blasio was dead last and 25 points behind the next-worst candidate on the list.
But in any discussion about the mayor's popularity, his supporters point to his track record. In 2013, polls had then-Public Advocate De Blasio running a distant third in the mayoral primary a month before the vote; he went on to win handily. In 2017, amid a federal fundraising investigation, 50% of voters told a Marist Poll De Blasio had done something illegal or unethical; he was still easily re-elected.