NEW YORK (PIX11) — Former Mayor Bill de Blasio dropped out of the race for Congress on Tuesday.
He had been running to represent New York’s 10th congressional district, which includes part of Manhattan and a swath of western Brooklyn. The primary is set for Aug. 23.
“It’s clear the people of #NY10 are looking for another option and I respect that,” he tweeted. “Time for me to leave electoral politics and focus on other ways to serve. I am really grateful for all the people I met, the stories I heard and the many good souls who helped out.”
About 64% of Democrats in NY-10 disapprove of the job de Blasio did as mayor of New York City, according to the previous polling. De Blasio finished second-to-last in another poll featuring the nine Democrats running in the district.
“It must be a little embarrassing for him to have pulled out of a congressional race but it’s probably not as embarrassing as having lost a primary to young elected officials who have much less of a track record in NYC politics than he has,” said Basil Smikle, the director of the public policy program at Hunter College.
De Blasio’s mayoral legacy is complicated. While his successes are considered universal pre-K, the expansion of Citi Bikes and the NYC waterways as well as a commitment to Vision Zero, there were struggles as well. Homelessness, the condition of NYCHA buildings, the controversial mental health initiative ThriveNYC, his handling of the return to school during the pandemic and his run for the presidency were all examples of past struggles.
“The combination of not having a clear policy message after universal pre-K and being viewed to be soft on crime, running for president and having such a lackluster candidacy is what New Yorkers will probably remember him,” said Smikle.
Then there were the gaffes the self-proclaimed Boston Red Sox fan will be remembered for. There was the time he ate pizza very unlike a New Yorker, with a fork and knife. Then the incident when he dropped Staten Island Chuck on Groundhog Day. The groundhog died a week later of internal injuries.
“In many ways he looked like his head and heart looked like it was elsewhere, whether it was running for the presidency or trying to have a national profile as a progressive,” said Smikle. “In many ways, New York City is its own political party. You have to have an unabashed support of New York City residents and a lot of voters didn’t get the sense that his heart was fully in it.”