Ex-NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announces run for Congress

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NEW YORK — Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday that he’s running for Congress after months of speculation over where he’d next set his political sights.

The ex-mayor made his campaign for New York’s 10th Congressional District official in a surprise appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program, citing “polls” as the justification for throwing his hat in the ring.

“The polls show the people are hurting, they need help, they need help fast and they need leaders who can actually get them help now, and I know how to do it,” de Blasio said. “I do know how to do it from years of serving the people of this city, so today I am declaring my candidacy for Congress.”

The campaign launch comes two days after de Blasio formed an “exploratory committee” to run for the 10th District. It also comes after de Blasio for months weighed — but ultimately ditched — plans to run for governor and a different congressional district.

The 10th District is currently represented by veteran Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler.

However, the state’s newly drawn congressional map — crafted by a special master after a version favored by Democratic state lawmakers was struck down in court — shifts the heart of Nadler’s constituency into what would be Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s 12th District. As a result, Nadler plans to run in the 12th District, leaving his seat vacant just months before this summer’s congressional elections.

De Blasio is far from the only local politician to express interest in running in the 10th District in light of the congressional map shakeup.

Among other potential contenders are state Sen. Brad Hoylman, City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, former City Councilman David Yassky as well as a number of state Assembly members, including Robert Carroll, Jo Anne Simon and Yuh-Line Niou.

De Blasio, who has the most name recognition in the race but ostensibly also the most political baggage, scored an early endorsement for his budding congressional campaign Thursday from Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte-Hermelyn, the chairwoman of the Brooklyn Democratic Party.

“Bill de Blasio is the most qualified progressive candidate who I believe can win this diverse seat,” Bichotte-Hermelyn said in a statement.

Under the new congressional map, the 10th District will cover a chunk of western Brooklyn, including de Blasio’s home neighborhood of Park Slope, as well as a large swath of downtown Manhattan.

Shortly after his morning cable news appearance, de Blasio rolled out a campaign website soliciting donations from supporters.

“Wherever I go, people ask: can things get better? I say from my heart: YES, but WE have to make them better. In our neighborhoods and our nation, the way to save our democracy is to be part of it,” de Blasio wrote in a tweet linking to the website. “Join us.”

De Blasio left City Hall on Jan. 1 with a complicated legacy developed over his eight years in charge.

As mayor, de Blasio frequently drew criticism from both the left and the right on a slew of issues, including public safety. His mayoral tenure was also marked by a number of high-profile scandals, including a federal investigation into his fundraising practices that produced indictments against several people, though de Blasio was ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing.

Having supported Mayor Eric Adams’ campaign to succeed him last year, de Blasio is likely hoping to court support for his congressional bid from Adams.

But when asked Friday morning if he has plans to back de Blasio’s campaign, Adams was noncommittal.

“It’s important to see the entire field of who’s running. He has not told me he’s running,” Adams said. “The voters are going to decide.”

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