The 2013 mayoral field was narrowed just a tiny bit yesterday when Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer announced he was dropping out of the crowded Democratic field and would instead run for City Comptroller (as expected). Stringer told Crain's, "I am not dropping down, I’m stepping up," and his fellow Democratic rivals were totally cool with that!
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the "frontrunner" of the moment, said, "Scott is a fantastic public servant with an impressive record of accomplishment and will do great things for the city in the future." Public Advocate Bill de Blasio issued a statement through his spokeswoman, "Scott Stringer has a strong record as a progressive reformer. His decision further clarifies the 2013 landscape, and identifies Bill as the clear progressive alternative." Plus de Blasio endorsed him for Comptroller!
John Liu, the current Comptroller who is facing federal legal issues, said, "Scott’s smart in both politics and government. This is a good move for him politically, and he would be a good comptroller for city government." And former Comptroller Bill Thompson, who lost to Mayor Bloomberg in 2009, said, "I know that Scott Stringer would be an exceptional comptroller. Scott will bring the executive leadership, fiscal knowledge and sound judgment to the office of comptroller that he has demonstrated repeatedly throughout his accomplished career in public service."
The NY Times reports that Quinn's "aides and supporters could barely contain their enthusiasm that Mr. Stringer’s withdrawal from the race left Ms. Quinn, a Chelsea resident, well-positioned to pick up Mr. Stringer’s Manhattan support. The Quinn team believes that she is best positioned to win over West Side Democrats who were Mr. Stringer’s strength." However, de Blasio's team "believe[s] that Mr. de Blasio, a Park Slope resident, can now consolidate support from labor unions and some West Side liberals turned off by Ms. Quinn’s close alliance with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg."
A Thompson adviser spoke to the Daily News: "'It opens up Manhattan to all the candidates,' the advisor said, arguing that voters in northern Manhattan and more conservative Jewish voters in the outer boroughs who would have gone for Stringer would break Thompson’s way."
As for Liu, whose campaign treasurer was arrested for fraud earlier this year, he told the Wall Street Journal, "I know what I'm going to do, and when I'm ready to make the announcement I'll talk with you... I think it's been a year that people have written me off. So be it. More power to 'em." The WSJ reports, "An adviser at a rival mayoral campaign said 'people underestimate John Liu at their own peril." If he isn't indicted, he might be able to recover and be a force, the adviser said.'"
As for the race for comptroller, Stringer will be facing off against City Councilman Dan Garodnick, whose spokesman snarked, "Dan didn’t choose to run for comptroller because he thought it would be the easiest race. He chose to run for comptroller because it was the job that best suited his talents and experience-fluent with the city’s finances, trained at internal investigations and with the record of integrity the office needs." Still, Stringer has the endorsements of former mayor Ed Koch, Rep. Jerry Nadler and maybe Scarlett Johansson.