With next year’s election looming on the horizon, the progressive mayor is becoming vulnerable to a primary challenge.
While a few prominent local politicians are toying with the idea, it’s City Comptroller Scott Stringer who seems to be getting the most serious about taking on de Blasio. He held a fundraiser on Tuesday night and is quietly assembling a campaign team. Elected to his citywide post in 2013, Stringer has talked up the possibility of challenging de Blasio to several Democrats over the last two months, and his chief of staff has approached at least one veteran Democratic operative about signing on to a potential bid next year.
“Stringer sees that de Blasio is weaker and more vulnerable than ever before because of the multiple scandals facing City Hall,” said a party insider familiar with Stringer’s thinking. “That’s why it’s no surprise Stringer’s political team is reaching out to consultants and operatives to gauge their interest about a 2017 mayoral bid.”
If you're looking to make book on Stringer's chances compared to other New York pols rumored to be considering challenges:
A range of Democratic sources who are aware of Stringer’s plans say he is the most hungry among a group of potential challengers that also includes Bronx borough president Rubén Díaz and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries. Stringer has more than $1 million in his campaign account, according to the latest filings. De Blasio has about $890,000 in his 2017 account, and may not be able raise cash as readily as a typical incumbent, given his investigatory woes.
Stringer's plan is to run against de Blasio as a liberal who can get things done - only without the corruption.
We learned recently that Eva Moskowitz is pushing Ruben Diaz Jr. to run against de Blasio.
Given past corruption involving the Diaz family - including Ruben Diaz Jr. himself - I have a difficult time seeing Diaz Jr. take out de Blasio based on a "He's Corrupt!" campaign message.
But Stringer on the other hand...well, that's certainly conceivable.
In any case, I'm beginning to think de Blasio himself is going to be indicted on corruption charges.
The leaks we're getting on the mayor's scandals are beginning to hint at just that - take last night's leak for instance.
That's the way Preet works - ready the public for high profile arrests with leaks.
He did this with Shelly Silver, he did this with Dean Skelos.
We'll see how this all shakes out, but the way things look right now, at best de Blasio's in serious trouble and facing a primary challenge from a well-funded, well-connected Stringer while at worst, he's going to be carted out in cuffs to join Silver and Skelos in ignominy.
As for teachers supporting Stringer as a better alternative to de Blasio, pay attention to some of Stringer's backers:
One advantage Stringer has over Díaz and Jeffries is a large orbit of loyalists in the public and private sector that has been privately compared to a “Ready for Hillary” operation. They include Audrey Gelman, his former press secretary; Micah Lasher, attorney general Eric Schneiderman’s former chief of staff and a candidate for State Senate on the Upper West Side; Amy Rutkin, Rep. Jerry Nadler’s chief of staff; and Camille Joseph, deputy comptroller for public affairs and Anthony Weiner’s former campaign manager. Any 2017 bid would also likely involve Anson Kaye, a Hillary Clinton ad-maker and top strategist on Stringer’s comptroller campaign. At the center of it all, there's Sascha Owen, Stringer's current chief of staff and former campaign manager.
Micah Lasher is a former StudentsFirstNY guy and Bloomberg aide.
I've been off the de Blasio bandwagon for a while now but I wouldn't be all that thrilled to back a mayoral candidate whose large orbit of loyalists includes Micah Lasher.
Barkan writes that it's not a done deal that Stringer runs, he wants to see how the investigations proceed and if de Blasio's poll numbers continue to fall.
But given the news de Blasio's facing these days, with his chief fundraiser the focus of a federal investigation and stories about de Blasio's afternoon's at Bar Toto making fundraising calls with said chief fundraiser, I can't imagine things are going to get better for him any time soon.