Paul Massey, the millionaire real estate businessman who had sought to win the New York City mayoralty in the mold of Michael Bloomberg, unexpectedly dropped out of the Republican primary race Wednesday after flailing for months in the polls.
Massey’s campaign announced the end of his 11-month-old bid in an email, hours after he debated his chief Republican rival and gave no hint of what was to come.
“Unfortunately, the cost of running for office is extraordinary, and I do not see a path to raising the necessary funds to beat an incumbent mayor,” Massey said in a statement.
Massey, 58, an executive at Cushman & Wakefield, has struggled to gain attention despite spending millions. A Quinnipiac University poll in May said Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio would beat him by a margin of 63 percent to 21 percent.
Massey had established residency in the city only recently from Westchester. He had attacked de Blasio’s stewardship of the city, citing issues including crime, quality of life, homelessness and taxes.
He raised more than $3 million but spent nearly as much, including on a succession of GOP consultants, according to Campaign Finance Board disclosures. In one reporting period, Massey’s fundraising rivaled de Blasio’s haul.
With Massey out, the front-runner for the GOP nomination is Nicole Malliotakis, an assemblywoman from Staten Island.
Malliotakis in a statement called Massey a “gentleman” and said she was “sad” he had dropped out, adding: “I’m ready for the fight and together with all those New Yorkers who have had it with Bill de Blasio.”
At 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Massey had faced off with Malliotakis at the debate in midtown Manhattan sponsored by Crain’s New York Business. During the debate, Massey accused the de Blasio administration of peddling “fudged” crime statistics.
“Some of our city’s greatest authorities on public safety are saying the numbers are being fudged,” he said. When pressed, Massey acknowledged he did not personally believe the NYPD was manipulating the statistics.
By noon, Massey was out of the race.