De Blasio back to NYC
Mayor Bill de Blasio dropped out of the presidential race on Friday. While on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program Friday morning, he was asked about which Democrat he would back in 2020. He declined to endorse, of course. But what does his decision mean to the remaining candidates?
Because de Blasio never rose above the 1 percent mark in polls, and had raised only about $1.1 million in campaign funds, Democratic political consultant Bruce Gyory told The Point the de Blasio departure will have a “negligible” impact on the race — for now.
Among the candidates, fellow New Yorker Andrew Yang was the first to acknowledge de Blasio’s departure, tweeting quickly after de Blasio’s announcement. Despite spelling the mayor’s name incorrectly — as so many seem to do — Yang said he expected de Blasio would “do a lot more good in the days ahead.”
But beyond the immediate fight among Democratic contenders, de Blasio might not make an impact until next year. What could matter, Gyory said, is if the New York primary on April 28 becomes important, which could happen especially if the remaining candidates split the earlier primaries and caucuses.
Then, de Blasio’s endorsement might carry significant weight, depending on whom he backs. De Blasio’s best shot for significance then, Gyory said, likely would be in endorsing Sen. Bernie Sanders, because Sen. Elizabeth Warren already has the backing of the Working Families Party.
“I think his relevance would be if Sanders could get a second wind, and [de Blasio] became [Sanders’] leading champion in New York, and that connected,” said Gyory.
Meanwhile, back in New York City, de Blasio has the opportunity to make concrete changes on key issues. When he announced the end of his campaign, de Blasio promised to “redouble my efforts to improve the quality of life for everyday New Yorkers,” and pointed to early-childhood education for 3-year-olds, “guaranteed” health care, and a law that would give workers across the city paid time off as his priorities.
But Gyory pointed to larger priorities for de Blasio to tackle, including dealing with the future of Rikers, school segregation, affordable housing and property taxes.
De Blasio is the second sitting New York City mayor in modern history to run for president. John Lindsay tried in 1972, but dropped out after a couple of primaries. Of course, he didn’t face 20-plus opponents.
But Gyory said the better example for de Blasio to follow now may be the mayor de Blasio has said he admires: Fiorello LaGuardia. Focusing on New York City for the next two years, and working on specific issues, could mean taking a page from LaGuardia’s book, Gyory said.
“For national purposes, he would need New York to be a really important primary to give him another shot at relevance,” Gyory said of de Blasio. “The larger question is can he avoid becoming Mr. Irrelevant as mayor. The best path for that would be to adopt that nose-to-the-grindstone style and really tackle some of the tough challenges that are before him ....”
Added Gyory: “Hope springs eternal.”
- Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall
All in the family?
Are Andrew Raia’s yard signs touting his upcoming run for Huntington Town clerk, which read “Raia for town clerk” on the top and “A history of service and trust” below, recycling his mom’s leftover campaign materials? After all, Jo-Ann Raia, who is retiring from the town clerk post after 36 years on the job, probably has a warehouse of campaign merchandise.
“I wish!” Andrew Raia told The Point, laughing, when asked. “Unfortunately, hers were pink, and they had her first name on them.”
But did he leave his first name off his signs as a way of letting Jo-Ann fans, of which there are many in Huntington, think his mom was still on the ballot?
Raia pointed out that his palm cards and bus shelter advertisements do include his first name, and that his nine terms in the Assembly mean both he and his mom have constituencies.
For the record, Raia’s Democratic opponent, Simon Saks, does not have his first name on his yard signs, either, and also had a locally beloved mother in civic activist Sheila Saks, who died last year.
Raia, who remains in the Assembly while he runs for clerk and could seek his seat again in 2020 if he loses in November, is also using the perks of his current job to burnish his reputation with voters who can decide whether he gets the next one.
Residents of his Assembly district got a state-funded mailer last week touting Raia’s work and votes on a host of issues in which he supported senior citizens and women, from strengthening protections for domestic violence victims to pushing for more funding for Alzheimer’s research.
It all helps to strengthen the Raia brand, and any current and future political candidacies that brand may produce.
- Lane Filler @lanefiller
Little green men
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Brooklyn Borough President and mayoral hopeful Eric Adams has gotten caught up in an unlikely controversy: animal rights activists dislike his boosterism for new rat traps that drown the creatures in a mix of liquid, alcohol and despair.
Adams says he’s standing up for minority and impoverished neighborhoods overrun by the pests, and wrote an op-ed in the Daily News on Wednesday. Do yourself a favor and don’t google the pictures.
It’s just the latest in the proud and bizarre tradition of the animal kingdom getting caught up in New York City politics.
Long Island has had its own fights over backyard chickens and deer cullings. But NYC is hard to beat on this front.
This year there have been City Hall protests about efforts to ban foie gras (Hudson Valley farms aren’t happy) and the sale of fur (it’s important in African American and Hasidic communities, some people say).
Neither party has a monopoly on the animal issue: remember former GOP mayoral hopeful Joe Lhota refusing to support shutting down the subways to save a kitten? Some might say the issue dogged him. Former congressman Anthony Weiner, who had other problems, avoided this one: “If there is ever a kitten in peril in the subway line, I will personally go to save the cat,” he told the Daily News in 2013.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, though, may go down in history for his animal adjacencies. His 2013 mayoral win was helped by animal rights activists angry that a main opponent opposed banning horse-drawn carriages in the city. In 2014, he dropped the Staten Island groundhog, who later died but gave birth to the new journalism term “zoo sources” when reporters dug into the fate of the creature.
Then there was the infamous Harlem deer death of 2016. De Blasio had it in for the one-antlered wretch but Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo tried to save it. The feud between the two politicians attained the point of peak comedy. The deer died, anyway.
Oh, the humanity.
- Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano