New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who’s still not ruling out a run for president, is fresh off a “Morning Joe” appearance Friday and set to wander key primary state New Hampshire this weekend.
Some city politics observers like to roll eyes about “De Blasio 2020,” given the crowded field and de Blasio’s past stumbles when angling for the national spotlight.
But he seems to be going through all the right motions in New Hampshire, according to a prominent and longtime Granite State Democrat.
The mayor put together a “very respectable schedule,” says Terry Shumaker, who was the state co-chair for Bill Clinton’s campaign and an ambassador to Trinidad.
De Blasio will drop in on a Manchester happy hour with the Young Democrats of New Hampshire, which Shumaker calls an emerging force. And on Sunday, de Blasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray, will participate in a roundtable on the opioid epidemic in Claremont, an old mill city that is not one of the wealthier parts of the state.
Shumaker says this was one of Bill Clinton’s favorite places in New Hampshire, where the Arkansas governor finished a strong surprise second in 1992, launching him toward the nomination.
Clinton won the county surrounding Claremont in that year’s primary and general. Yet the Clinton magic didn’t work there in 2016. Vermont neighbor Sen. Bernie Sanders more than doubled Hillary Clinton’s primary total in the county, and then Donald Trump edged her out there in the general election -- perhaps indicating that some disaffected voters had drifted from the Democratic core.
De Blasio’s campaign says he’s visiting Claremont as it’s where McCray’s mother was born and raised. But if the mayor’s focus on income inequality and executive experience is to have any resonance, it should be in a place like Claremont.
Will he manage to excite crowds like a Beto or Bernie, or get the local respect of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren?
Will the inquisitive New Hampshire citizens grill him on New York City Housing Authority scandals or ongoing struggles to bring homeless shelter levels down from 60,000 people?
The state is happy to host those who want to try its launchpad primary, says Shumaker: “De Blasio is more than welcome in New Hampshire.”