There is increasingly feverish speculation that Mayor Bill de Blasio is considering a run for president, with a trip planned for Friday to the key battleground state of New Hampshire, where he will meet with Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess.
On Tuesday, following a report in Politico that he was moving closer to a decision on a presidential campaign, de Blasio was asked about his upcoming foray to New Hampshire during an unrelated press conference. The mayor said the trip was consistent with the mission of getting his progressive message out. Reiterating that he had not ruled out running for president, he said, "At some point, I’ll have something to say about the presidential situation. Referring to the early primary states, he added, "Obviously if you go to one of these states, it’s a chance to be heard."
He said he believed the wide field of Democratic contenders was “very healthy,” adding, “I think it’s a chance to sort things out.”
Along those lines, he dismissed the notion that the clock was ticking on his decision to run. “What we all thought were the rules of the game when it came to political campaigns, they just don’t exist anymore. I don’t think there is some magical date.”
De Blasio said that among candidates there was "a real focus on talking to everyday people."
Turns out, he will be doing exactly that in New Hampshire. City Hall Communications Director Mike Casca told Politico that the mayor “may chat with locals at a diner" during his visit to the state with the first presidential primary.
This is not de Blasio's first attempt at introducing himself to a critical primary electorate. Back in 2017, shortly after winning his second term as mayor of New York City, de Blasio made an eyebrow-raising trip to Iowa, all the while denying that he was running for president.
There are also signs that the mayor may be staffing up. In addition to Casca, who worked on Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, de Blasio will be accompanied by not one but two aides who Politico describes as having "extensive national campaign experience," Jon Paul Lupo and Jaclyn Rothenberg.
De Blasio, who has tried to position himself in the progressive flank of the Democratic party, said last month that he won't rule out a presidential run, while also raising his national profile with appearances on The View and The Simpsons.
New Yorkers, of course, have every reason to hope that de Blasio does not undertake a presidential bid. A presidential campaign would require de Blasio to spend a significant chunk of time away from home, at a time when the city is arguably reeling from a host of crises, including homelessness, the billions of dollars worth of urgent capital repairs facing New York City Housing Authority, and the continuing unreliability of the city's subway system. And in the slim chance that he should actually become president, de Blasio would be reneging on a promise he made during the 2017 Democratic primary debate, that he would serve out his full term as mayor. His term ends on January 1, 2022.
The Democratic race for the presidential nomination is, at this early stage, an up-for-grabs free-for-all. To date, there are currently eleven Democrats who have thrown their hat into the presidential ring , one of which is Marianne Williams, a 66-year-old Texan known primarily for being Oprah Winfrey’s spiritual adviser
Nevertheless, people on Twitter convulsed with derisive laughter at what has increasingly been portrayed as de Blasio's desperate plea for national recognition. It was probably not the reaction he was going for, but at least it appears people are really listening.?
— Bill DeFilippo (@BillDeFilippo) February 12, 2019
I need to laugh in Russian too
— official Rick Wilson sockpuppet (@fiondavision) February 12, 2019
Of the United States??
— Kelly Green (@brandcoachkelly) February 12, 2019
— dandunford (@dandunford) February 12, 2019
“New Yorkers hate me” might not be a bad pitch to middle america.
— Whataboutista (@Vera_Nabok) February 12, 2019
Maybe @politicony should tell those same sources to tell @NYCMayor that that’s the biggest dumbass idea of all time.
Please also add that he and @HowardSchultz can split a latte and just sit this one out.
Or rather just fu*k off altogether. That’d def #maga #MAGA2020 thanks!
— Vincent Lyon IV (@vfrostthefourth) February 12, 2019
The HARDEST of passes pic.twitter.com/RzWtiN3QOf
— Lindsey Barrett (@LAM_Barrett) February 12, 2019
De Blasio came in last in a recent Quinnipiac poll asking New York state and NYC residents which New York official would make the best president. In first place, former mayor Mike Bloomberg, followed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in second. Unlike de Blasio, both have said they won't run for president in 2020.