Five months after leaving office, former Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday that he would form an exploratory committee to run for the newly drawn 10th Congressional District, which includes Lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn areas of Park Slope and Borough Park.
“Our neighborhoods need help as we recover from Covid,” the former mayor who previously served as a Councilmember representing Park Slope, said in a tweet. “Our nation needs help as democracy is threatened and working people struggle. I am ready to serve to continue the fight against inequality.”
Should de Blasio decide to run, the contest for the 10th District could become among the more closely watched congressional races in New York. The newly proposed maps, which will be finalized Friday, have sparked a feeding frenzy of interest as current and former Democratic elected officials assess their options. The reconfigured districts are part of the fallout from a ruling by the state’s highest court that found the congressional and state Senate maps were illegally drawn by Democrats.
De Blasio is among seven individuals have so far expressed interest in the 10th District seat. Manhattan state Sen. Brad Hoylman has been the most forthright. On Tuesday, he told The City, “I’m in.”
Assemblymembers Robert Carroll of Brooklyn, and Yuh-Line Niou, of Manhattan, are also exploring a bid. Niou is already running for the 26th Senate District currently occupied by Brian Kavanagh.
Politico reported that state Senator Simcha Felder and Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, both in Brooklyn, said they may also run — while Scott Stringer, the former city comptroller and mayoral candidate, did not rule it out. Hours after announcing his interest to run, Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte, the head of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, released a statement saying the former mayor is “the most qualified progressive candidate who I believe can win this diverse seat.” Her spokesperson later clarified that this was not an official endorsement, but one may come later.
The heavily Democratic district means the winner of the primary will likely skate to a victory in the general election against a Republican challenger.
Portions of the newly drawn 10th District overlap with the existing district held by Rep. Jerrold Nalder, a long-serving Upper West Side Democrat who said he plans to run for the newly configured 12th District that includes the Upper East Side. That primary is now poised to pit Nadler against Carolyn Maloney, another veteran member of Congress.
A Park Slope resident and former political strategist, de Blasio had briefly considered but eventually passed on competing in a district that had previously joined his neighborhood with the Staten Island district held by Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, a Republican. The unusual union of the two areas was voided, however, under the redrawn map.
Since leaving office, de Blasio – who previously ran for president – has devoted his time to commenting on national politics. He’s appeared as a guest on MSNBC and penned essays on how President Joe Biden and Democrats should hone their message to voters in the upcoming midterm elections.
De Blasio introduced a universal pre-K program and presided over record-low crime rates during his mayoral tenure, but he was saddled with poor approval ratings during much of his time in office. His last two years were devoted to fighting COVID and he was widely credited for instituting vaccine mandates that raised the city’s vaccination levels.
In an Atlantic essay, the former mayor admitted to having made missteps during his two terms as the City Hall leader.
“When it comes to being unpopular, I’m somewhat of an expert,” he wrote.
This article has been updated with a comment from Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte’s spokesperson clarifying that she did not officially endorse Bill de Blasio for the congressional seat.