New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has mailed paperwork to launch a committee for governor of the state. The mayor has not officially announced a bid, and he would have to contest a Democrat primary with New York Attorney General Letitia James to unseat incumbent Democrat Gov. Kathy Hochul.
De Blasio told MSNBC: "I want to continue in public service and there's a lot that needs to be fixed in Albany."
Last week, the soon-to-be ex-mayor finalized forms to establish a candidate committee, "New Yorkers for a Fair Future," with the state Board of Elections, Politico reported.
The committee allows him to fundraise for a run for governor, and he has contacted labor affiliates, lobbyists, and Orthodox Jewish community leaders to assess support and ask for money. Several people familiar with the calls said he has requested donations of up to $25,000 from prospective donors, according to Politico.
His term as mayor ends Dec. 31 and he faces debt from prior campaigns and legal bills: two complaints were issued against his failed presidential bid in 2020.
According to a de Blasio adviser, Peter Ragon, de Blasio's main base is with Blacks and Latinos, who make up more than 50% of New York City residents.
Bishop Orlando Findlayter, a friend, referred to de Blasio as "one of the greatest mayors in the city of New York, in the history of New York," and told Politico he thinks de Blasio is consistently "underestimated, both in his accomplishments and in his ability."
In his first term as mayor, he implemented a free universal pre-kindergarten program in the city, and ended stop-and-frisk police tactics. His plan for affordable housing was passed by the City Council, but has been controversial in Brooklyn, where he resides.
De Blasio would face competition from a formidable Black candidate in the primaries, AG James, another Brooklyn resident who would be New York's first Black female governor, if elected. Her investigation brought down former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who resigned in disgrace.
"Anyone looking at Tish’s numbers in her attorney general race in Brooklyn and how she swept, even with limited resources, should be pretty nervous right now," said Democrat consultant Camille Rivera, who worked in de Blasio’s administration. "She is a queen in Brooklyn," she said, reported Politico.
In recent weeks, de Blasio has phoned Sephardic leaders and a prominent Satmar rabbi to share his aspirations, Politico reported.
The Orthodox Jewish Satmar community raised small amounts of money to help him qualify for presidential debates. Prosecutors have said he improperly intervened with city agencies on behalf of his donors, according to The New York Times. There were no criminal charges, however.
"Literally no one needs or wants this and it’s an incredible act of hubris to insert himself just as the clock is counting down on his mayoralty — in the same way that throwing himself into the presidential was absurd and did nothing for New York City," Democrat consultant Alexis Grenell said. "He’s the mayor for at least another two months. Wouldn’t it be nice if he did his job for a little while here, instead of going on this gubernatorial joy ride?"
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