Democratic State Senator Tony Avella, Mayor Bill de Blasio's car-loving challenger of less than five months, announced Thursday that he is dropping out of the 2017 mayoral race. The candidate from Queens cited insufficient funding, cramming his press release with jabs at de Blasio's own fundraising habits. "I knew that I was facing an uphill battle if I wanted to topple an incumbent mayor with deep pockets," Avella said, adding, "Five months later... I have found that staying in this race without being beholden to dark money is becoming increasingly difficult."

To recap, the remaining crew of challengers includes Republican real estate mogul Paul Massey, Staten Island Republican Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis (who recently sued the city over its attempt to destroy NYCID data), and former New York Jet Republican Michael Faulkner (who the NY Times reports has spent more on the campaign than he has raised). On the Democratic ticket, there's police reform advocate Bob Gangi, and former City Council Member Sal Albanese. Bo Dietl spent the last week insisting that he didn't say anything racist at a Republican candidate forum (the candidate said a black female judge "looked like Chirlane de Blasio"). Today, the NY Times reports that the Republican Party doesn't want him to run on their party line.

For the mayor who recently dodged criminal charges and seizes every opportunity to look less terrible than the Trump Administration, things appear to be rather rosy.

Then-candidate Avella told us in December that he was skeptical of Mayor de Blasio's Vision Zero initiative. Safe Streets advocates have criticized the program for not cracking down hard enough on drivers. Avella's position is about the opposite: he described the mayor as "sort of anti-motorist with his policies, there is no question."

"All he is focusing on is the pedestrian plazas and bike lanes," Avella added. "And I've told him time and time again that if you really want to improve safety, you need to do more than that. It's also about making it easier for neighborhoods that identify dangerous intersections to get an all-way stop or a traffic light. If a neighborhood asks for a speed bump, do you know how long it takes?"

According to Avella, "Buying a car, having a car, is the last bastion of freedom."

A member of Albany's controversial Independent Democratic Conference, Avella assured supporters that he "will not stop fighting against the current Mayor."

"Throughout my career in government I have prided myself on being an outsider who made it to the inside and got things done," he said. "Unfortunately, in a race like this, being an outsider doesn't get you much."