New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has confirmed that he is “absolutely” considering running for governor of New York in the 2022 elections.
Appearing on Friday morning’s episode of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to discuss his response to the region’s flooding, guest host Willie Geist asked the mayor, “There’s been some reporting that you’ve been calling around to labor groups to look into a possible run for the governor’s office yourself. Are you considering a run to be the next governor of New York?”
De Blasio initially evaded the question, saying he is working with current Governor Kathy Hochul (D) in an emergency response to the floods that swept through the Northeast this week. “We respect each other, like each other,” he said. “The politics — that’s next year. That’s a whole [other] world.”
“But,” he continued, “I believe in public service; I’ve done it my whole life. I want to keep working on crucial issues and causes, particularly … things like education for our kids.”
“So,” he said, “we’ll see what the future brings.”
“So, fair to say you’re at least considering the run?” Geist pressed.
“I want to keep serving in one way or another in the future. So, I’m going to look at different options. Absolutely,” the mayor replied.
The interview was the first public confirmation that de Blasio — who cannot pursue a third term as mayor thanks to a 2010 referendum that limits mayors to two terms in office — has his eye on the governor’s mansion.
Although he is term-limited, de Blasio finds himself mired in controversy over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last month, Big Apple businesses sued the mayor over his vaccine mandate, requiring patrons and employees to show proof of at least partial vaccination before dining, shopping, or engaging in other public indoor activities. He butted heads with the city’s Orthodox Jewish community, threatening at times to shut down synagogues that did not comply with his strict lockdown orders “once and for all.”
But the mayor has never hidden his ambitions, and he may view succeeding Governor Andrew Cuomo as a form of revenge. He feuded with his Democratic colleague during their coterminous service in office. The mayor’s response to days of looting that broke out during last summer’s Black Lives Matter riots drew the sharp rebuke of then-Governor Cuomo.
“The police must stop the looting and the criminal activity. That is the essence of the police force,” Cuomo said. If that did not happen soon, Cuomo warned, he would “displace the mayor of New York City and bring in the National Guard.”
After a 54% spike in shootings in the early months of 2021, Mayor de Blasio reversed his “defund the police” policy and approved $105 million in police funding.
If he enters the race, Bill de Blasio will bring a lifetime of polarized political views and activism with him.
In 1988, Bill de Blasio spent ten days in Communist-controlled Nicaragua, then dominated by dictator Daniel Ortega’s Sandinistas. The New York Times reported in 2013 that the future mayor became “an admirer of Nicaragua’s ruling Sandinista party” — otherwise known as the Sandinista National Liberation Front, a Marxist organization.
“He helped raise funds for the Sandinistas in New York and subscribed to the party’s newspaper, Barricada, or Barricade,” the Times reported. “He oversaw efforts to solicit and ship millions of dollars in food, clothing and supplies to Nicaragua.”
In a 1990 interview with The New York Times under his birth name, the future mayor said the Sandinistas “built a democracy that was striving to be economic and political, that pervaded all levels in society.” (Bill de Blasio, who was born William Wilhelm Jr., adopted his mother’s maiden name after his father committed suicide.)
Bill de Blasio’s “time as a young activist was more influential in shaping his ideology than previously known,” wrote Times reporter Javier C. Hernández. “When he was asked at a meeting in 1990 about his goals for society, he said he was an advocate of ‘democratic socialism.’”
Bill de Blasio would echo that sentiment in different words last December when he said, “I like to say very bluntly, our mission is to redistribute wealth. A lot of people bristle at that phrase. That is, in fact, the phrase we need to use.”
To that end, Mayor de Blasio has endorsed taxing drivers who enter the city during high-traffic times or in highly-congested areas, with the money funding heavily subsidized public transportation. “We need congestion pricing here in New York City,” he said during Friday’s interview.
Should he pursue a run for the state’s highest office next year, de Blasio would join what may turn out to be a crowded primary field. In addition to Governor Hochul, state Attorney General Letitia James — whose report on sexual harassment effectively turned Cuomo out of office — is also widely believed to be thinking of formally announcing her gubernatorial bid.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.