A wealthy but little-known tech entrepreneur Wednesday declared his candidacy for mayor of New York, joining a crowded field of contenders and seeking to stand out as someone who would build on Michael Bloomberg's legacy rather than change course.
Jack Hidary, 45, is running as an independent and will finance the effort using his personal wealth and public matching funds if he qualifies.
"Mike Bloomberg deserves huge credit for leading us through . . . two very significant challenges: the post-9/11 financial crisis and the financial crisis of the last five, six years," Hidary said in an interview with Newsday.
Hidary founded Dice.com, a job search site for tech professionals. He said he would take the economic development now seen in the downtowns of Manhattan and Brooklyn "to the next step. I want to build on Bloomberg's success and take it out to all the boroughs."
Hidary's immediate challenge is name recognition. He has hired a team of veteran political operators to help establish himself with voters through what he called a "hybrid model of online and offline techniques" similar to those used by President Barack Obama.
They include top adviser Joe Trippi, a Democratic consultant who worked on Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign; and, as a media consultant, Richard Strauss, the Clinton White House's radio director.
Hidary and Trippi Wednesday pitched to a group of tech entrepreneurs at the Partnership for New York City, a business group, saying Hidary would continue many Bloomberg policies, according to the group's president, Kathryn S. Wylde.
Wylde said she "can't imagine" Hidary winning in November, "but I've been surprised by a lot of things that have happened in this election cycle."
Ken Sherrill, an emeritus professor of political science at Hunter College, said if Hidary is to have a chance, he must be willing to sink a lot of cash into the race, as Bloomberg did.
If he depends on public financing, which requires a $6.4 million cap in general election spending, "he has to have an extraordinary amount of confidence in his charm and persuasiveness," Sherrill said.
Hidary was raised on Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn and now lives on Central Park South in Manhattan. His business experience and community outreach -- he helps small-business owners with microfinancing -- make him uniquely qualified, Hidary said.
Voters "want someone free of partisan politics, free of machine politics," he said. "You may like bell-bottoms, but I'm not sure you want to go back to the leadership of the '70s."
Hidary met at a midtown tech workspace Wednesday night with about 50 people -- friends, relatives and others who said they came out of curiosity. "A lot of New York is entrepreneurs of some kind, so he will be enticing to them," said one, John Solis, 27, of Manhattan.
With Matthew Chayes