De Blasio, Polling Low, Drops Out of Congressional Race

By Reuvain Borchardt

NEW YORK — Former New York City mayor Bill de Blasio has announced he is dropping out of the race for Congress in New York’s 10th District, after polls showed him trailing by a wide margin.

“It’s clear the people of #NY10 are looking for another option and I respect that,” de Blasio tweeted Tuesday. “Time for me to leave electoral politics and focus on other ways to serve. I am really grateful for all the people I met, the stories I heard and the many good souls who helped out. Thank you all!”

A poll last week by progressive polling firm Data for Progress, released by City & State, showed de Blasio in seventh place of the eight Democratic candidates polled. Thirteen Democrats were vying for the open Congressional seat, which, following the recent redistricting, includes Manhattan below 14th Street, and Brooklyn neighborhoods like Carroll Gardens and Park Slope, as well as Boro Park below 14th Avenue.

The poll showed de Blasio with the support of just 5% of respondents, compared to 17% for poll leader Carlina Rivera and 14% for runner-up Yuh Line-Niou, who represent portions of Lower Manhattan in the city Council and state Assembly, respectively.

The coup de grâce in the former mayor’s campaign was when his own internal poll came back Monday showing him trailing badly.

Another poll, released the same day by the progressive Working Families Party (which has endorsed Niou in the race), shows Niou and Rivera tied at 16%, with de Blasio in seventh place at 3%.

De Blasio had plenty of campaign cash on hand — $450,000 as of June 30, third-most among all candidates. But with no realistic path to victory, he announced his withdrawal from the race in the tweet posted early Tuesday afternoon.

In a tweeted video filmed in front of his Park Slope home, an at-times emotional de Blasio said, “I love the people of this city. I really want to keep serving, and I’m going to find a different way to serve.” De Blasio thanked his staffers and said, “Even though this is not going to work out, I hope you know how much I appreciate you, and we’re going to do a lot together to make this city better in the future. So I’m feeling a lot of gratitude. I’m also recognizing I made mistakes. I want to do better in the future. I want to learn from those mistakes. And it’s been a humbling experience at times. But it’s been a healthy experience.”

De Blasio, 61, has held elected office since 2002, when he first joined the city Council, representing portions of Brooklyn including Park Slope and part of Boro Park. He served two terms in the Council, then one as public advocate, followed by two terms as mayor.

The Data for Progress poll had showed de Blasio leading by a wide margin in name recognition — as well as unfavorability, reflecting the unpopularity with which he closed his mayoral term.

Elected as a progressive, de Blasio, on the Left on issues from economics to policing, was always loathed by the Right. But over the course of his mayoralty, he came under fire from some fellow Leftists for not being progressive enough. Progressives accused him of being afraid to take on the NYPD because he was so stunned at police officers turning their back on him at the 2014 funeral of a cop who was murdered after de Blasio had spoken against police racism. And during Black Lives Matters protests in 2020, law-and-order advocates accused him of restraining police during riots and looting, while social-justice advocates blamed him for aggressive policing.

De Blasio enjoyed a warm relationship with the Orthodox Jewish community for years. He was a rare progressive who staunchly supported Israel, and community activists said that when they had concerns, they always had a seat at his table. He withstood pressure to declare yeshivas noncompliant with state education standards, overturned a policy of the prior administration to regulate metzitzah b’peh, and established a Universal Pre-Kindergarten program.

But the relationship soured during the last two years of his mayoralty, particularly over issues related to de Blasio’s handling of the COVID pandemic, as well as rising crime in the city.

Immediately after he left office last January, de Blasio flirted with two other political runs — for governor, and for the 11th Congressional District, where his Park Slope home was then located — but decided against them. Then a court-appointed special master took over New York’s redistricting and put Park Slope into a newly open seat in the 10th District, de Blasio was one of more than a dozen candidates to toss their hat into the ring.

During his congressional run, de Blasio met with Orthodox politicos on multiple occasions.

Last month, he held a meeting with Orthodox activists in Boro Park Center. Speaking with Hamodia after the meeting, he acknowledged that his relationship with the community had been somewhat strained during the prior two years, and said he would look forward to addressing that — and emphasizing the friendly relations during the prior 18 years — on the campaign trail. While no endorsement was made at that meeting, several of the participants told Hamodia that they were likely to endorse de Blasio as Primary Day drew nearer.

And on Monday evening, he met with community members at the home of Masbia Executive Director Alexander Rapaport.

But with the low poll numbers, de Blasio realized it was not to be, and he bowed out of the race just over a month before the August 23 primary.

“Bill de Blasio came into office with a lot of ambitions and good intentions, but unfortunately, much of that wasn’t able to materialize,” David Greenfield, a former Councilman and current CEO of Met Council, told Hamodia on Tuesday. “He lost the popular support of the people, and once you lose the support, it’s impossible to govern. What you see today is a culmination of that: it was crystal clear that there was no viable path to success, because the people just don’t want his style of leadership anymore.”

De Blasio did not immediately announce his plans for the future.

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