Updated on May 6 at 6:48 p.m. ET
Multiple people close to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio gave up trying to talk him out of running for president earlier this year. Now he’s reportedly going to try to win Iowa and New Hampshire without most of his friends—or even people on his payroll—supporting him.
“Ugh,” said one former aide when asked about de Blasio actually going forward with his rumored 2020 campaign. “Lunacy,” said another. Others declined to comment for this story. One person who knows de Blasio well cited too much loyalty to speak anonymously about his prospects. No point in just being mean, the person said. The mayor’s team declined to comment for this story.
De Blasio is expected to announce a presidential run in the coming days with a skeletal campaign team staffed by junior aides on vacation from their jobs at city hall. He’s trying to do what Michael Bloomberg, Rudy Giuliani, John Lindsay, and every New York mayor since 1868 has failed to do: Get elected to a higher office.
De Blasio’s communications director, Mike Casca, who two months ago joined the payroll of his PAC, quit on Friday afternoon, shortly after attempting to bat down the latest round of stories that the mayor was soon joining the crowded Democratic-primary field. His government press secretary walked last month, in part to avoid being pulled into forthcoming 2020 efforts. His 2013 campaign manager, Bill Hyers, didn’t respond when I asked him what he made of the mayor’s White House ambitions, though he’s been talking with Pete Buttigieg about getting involved with his campaign. John Del Cecato, the consultant who made de Blasio’s ads in the past, including the breakthrough, blockbuster spot featuring de Blasio’s biracial son, Dante, which turned around his 2013 mayoral race, won’t be involved either, though he declined to comment other than to confirm that he wasn’t going to participate. Lis Smith, a member of de Blasio’s 2013 team who was later denied an administration post after her own tabloid run-ins, is Buttigieg’s communications adviser.