New York Mayor Bill de Blasio Drops 2020 Presidential Bid

September 20, 2019 by Dan McCue
(Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called an end to his campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination Friday after struggling to gain traction in a sprawling field of candidates.

Appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program, de Blasio declined to endorse any of his former rivals for the nomination, but said he would support the eventual Democratic nominee “with energy.”

“I feel like I’ve contributed all I can to this primary election, and it’s clearly not my time,” de Blasio said.

”So I’m going to continue my work as mayor of New York City, and I’m going to keep speaking up for working people and for a Democratic Party that stands for working people.”

At a news conference outside Gracie Mansion in New York City on Friday, de Blasio said “as we went over the last few weeks, every day that passed, it got tougher.”

As the mayor’s wife, Chirlane McCray, looked on her disappointed husband said, “There wasn’t more progress. We were watching the polling to see if anything was moving. It just wasn’t moving.”

A recent Siena College poll of registered New York State Democrats found that fewer than 1 percent favored the mayor as the Democratic nominee, and a de Blasio campaign finance filing showed that he had raised only $1.1 million.

De Blasio entered the race late, not declaring his candidacy until mid-May. Even then, a Quinnipiac University poll found three-out-of-four New Yorkers were against him making such a bid.

Among the first steps the mayor took as a candidate was to propose a “workers’ Bill of Rights” to guarantee Americans paid time off and medical leave.

He also sought to position himself as the most suitable Democrat to take on President Trump, given his familiarity with Trump as a New York real estate magnate.

But de Blasio’s very left of center message — among other things, he promised to “tax the hell” out of the rich — was crowded out in a field that includes the likes of Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

Though he qualified to appear in the first two Democratic candidate debates, he failed to qualify for the third, and was unlikely to qualify for the fourth.

He also was given to gaffs on the campaign trail, such as when he quoted Che Guevara in Miami.

De Blasio said he did not know that the slogan “Hasta la victoria siempre!” was associated with Guevara, a leader of the Cuban Revolution who is reviled by much of Miami’s Cuban population.

Trump greeted the news of de Blasio’s departure from the race with unrestrained glee.

In a tweet, he initially pretended shock, “Oh no, really big political news, perhaps the biggest story in years!”

He then went on to say, “Part time Mayor of New York City, @BilldeBlasio, who was polling at a solid ZERO but had tremendous room for growth, has shockingly dropped out of the Presidential race.”

“NYC is devastated,” the president said in closing. “He’s coming home!”

Talking to reporters in the Oval Office later, Trump couldn’t get enough of belittling de Blasio.

“Too bad, he had tremendous potential,” the president said, adding later that the 6-foot-5 mayor “had one real asset. You know what it was? Height. Other than that, he had nothing going.”

De Blasio joins New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Washington Sen. Jay Inslee, Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and California Rep. Eric Swallwell, who have all left the Democratic primary race.

Throughout his campaign, de Blasio was hounded by protesters from New York City’s largest police union and others demanding he fire the officers involved in the 2014 death of Eric Garner on Staten Island.

The protests continued even after the firing of Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who placed Garner in the chokehold that contributed to his death, as protestors sought the dismissal of the other officers involved.

The mayor’s critics, including his hometown New York Post, also panned de Blasio, who is term-limited and will leave office at the end of 2021, was running because he was tired of the headaches of city hall and bored with the day-to-day administration of the city.

In announcing his White House bid, standing before the Statue of Liberty, de Blasio said, “We are figuring out who we are. There are American values we need to return to and fight for in order to achieve our greatest potential.”

On Friday, he professed to have no regrets about his abortive run.

“I feel very good about the message,” he said. “I feel that people want progressive change. They want to focus on these working people. The message resonated real well.”

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