New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Comptroller Scott Stringer held a joint campaign news conference in Manhattan Sunday, announcing their support for each other’s re-election bids.
The appearance seemed to signal a warming point in the often icy relationship between the two Democrats who have traded barbs in the past, usually after one of Stringer’s audit reports critical of the de Blasio administration is released.
“I’m the first to say I don’t always make his life easier,” Stringer said. “It’s all in the city charter. As mayor and comptroller, we have our respective jobs: the chief executive on one hand, and the chief watchdog on the other. But as Democrats, we play on the same team. We agree on so much more than we would ever disagree on.”
De Blasio also acknowledged past tensions.
“Scott has been a strong comptroller, always asking tough questions, always pushing us,” he said during the news conference in Clement Clarke Moore Park. “Sometimes we’re going to agree with his critique, sometimes we’re going to disagree with it, that’s normal.”
De Blasio and Stringer have often been at odds and have had a strained relationship since assuming their posts in 2014.
Stringer’s office has released a series of audits critical of the de Blasio administration, including a September 2016 report alleging the mayor was not moving fast enough to address the city’s growing homelessness crisis, and a December 2016 review that criticized the city’s child welfare agency for “disturbingly little progress” in improving its child abuse investigation procedures.
De Blasio in past interviews has accused Stringer of “grandstanding” and pulling “cheap political stunts.”
But Sunday, the two Democrats focused on their areas of common ground.
“We’ve moved the needle in some big ways,” Stringer said. “We’ve made New York the first major city in the nation to divest from private prisons. We totally modernized our investment operations, bolstering the retirement security for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers.”
De Blasio noted that Stringer has supported mayoral control of education, and said the two worked well together to advocate for New York City in Albany.
“We’ve managed together during the last four years to really focus on a progressive vision of fiscal responsibility,” he said. “And I’m proud of that.”
Stringer’s name was repeatedly floated as a possible challenger to de Blasio in the mayoral race, but in February during a radio interview on WNYC, Stringer said he did not plan to run against the incumbent mayor.
— With Laura Figueroa