New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to announce Thursday that he is jumping in to the 2020 presidential race, making him the 23rd Democratic candidate of note in a crowded field of hundreds.
De Blasio will make it official just before heading to the crucial primary state of Iowa on Thursday afternoon, according to multiple reports. The announcement will place de Blasio among a sea of Democrats clamoring for the chance to challenge President Trump. He will face an uphill battle with early polls generating low numbers for him.
The progressive Democrat who turned 58 last week is known for opposing Trump’s anti-immigration measures. His second mayoral term is set to conclude at the end of 2021.
De Blasio’s communications staff did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation of the report, but the mayor’s public schedule indicated that he will deliver remarks at 11 a.m. ET on Thursday at the Statue of Liberty Museum.
The development will end months of speculation since the mayor first said he would not rule out a campaign. In the interim, news editorials and constituents on social media have suggested de Blasio should not run since he already is facing trouble on his home turf, including a troubled public housing agency.
“I’m not sure what lane de Blasio expects to occupy,” Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, told Fortune. “He is better known than many other candidates who have been running since the beginning of the year, but most of them are generally well-liked by the Democratic electorate. De Blasio stands out mainly for the relatively high number of primary voters who say they don’t like him.”
Another political observer who has written about de Blasio said it is not unusual for him to act against advice.
“It’s not out of character for him to do something that kind of defies the pundits and is unexpected,” said Professor Joseph Viteritti, chair of the Urban Policy and Planning Department at Hunter College and author of The Pragmatist: Bill de Blasio’s Quest to Save the Soul of New York.
“That’s pretty much the way he’s run his career going back to the time he ran for … City Council but even School Board in Brooklyn,” Viteritti said in an interview with Fortune.
The professor added, “He obviously feels that what he’s done in New York has relevance for a national agenda for the Democratic party, which is still trying to define itself in terms of its priorities.”
In his favor, de Blasio runs a city of 8.6 million enjoying lowered unemployment and declining crime. But on the negative side, people in the political arena describe him as arrogant, and polls have been lukewarm.
A Quinnipiac University poll released last month found that 76% of New Yorkers felt that de Blasio should not run for president. Polls by the Monmouth College Polling Institute gave de Blasio a 1% national rating among all candidates in March, 0% in Iowa last month and 1% in New Hampshire this month.
Then, there’s the …read more