New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio officially ended his presidential campaign today, writing in an NBC News op-ed, “I have contributed all I can to this Democratic primary.”
“This campaign has been a profound experience for me,” de Blasio wrote. “I saw America in full—not as it appears on Twitter and cable news, where we’re constantly shown a country hamstrung by our differences and unable to tackle the problems we face. We have more in common than we realize—and more and more of us across the country are overcoming our divisions and standing up for working people.”
On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, de Blasio echoed some of those sentiments.
“It’s clearly not my time,” said de Blasio, adding that he would continue his work as mayor of New York City and “continue to speak up for working people.”
De Blasio’s announcement comes after the mayor failed to qualify for two consecutive Democratic presidential debates, one in September and an upcoming debate in October. He previously said he would end his campaign if he didn’t make the cut come October.
Throughout his campaign, de Blasio tried to position himself as the most progressive candidate—and the one that could most successfully take on Donald Trump, particularly given Trump’s long history in New York City as a real estate tycoon. The mayor proposed a “workers’ Bill of Rights” that would guarantee paid time off and medical leave for all Americans, and pledged to raise taxes on the wealthy. Recently, he told The Root he would abolish ICE and tackle white supremacist violence as president.
But de Blasio’s message never caught on, and in fact, took some comical missteps. He tried to make the label “con Don” stick—a reference to Trump’s long history of scamming—but, as many Spanish speakers noted, the name sounded like the Spanish word for “condom.” Then, there was the time de Blasio sounded like a chipmunk during an August video call to an Iowa labor office.
New Yorkers were also largely sour on de Blasio’s run for the White House. As CNN notes, shortly after de Blasio announced his candidacy in May, a Quinnipiac poll found 76% of New Yorkers said they didn’t think de Blasio should run.
New Yorkers, then, might be forgiven if their response is, “Bill who??” once the mayor returns to Gracie Mansion. Many have critiqued the mayor for being largely absent from addressing pressing problems in the city, including increased segregation in city schools, a spike in homelessness and an ongoing public housing crisis, the New York Times reports.
His absence was particularly glaring during a massive power outage in July, when 72,000 New Yorks lost power in Manhattan. The mayor was giving a campaign speech in Waterloo, Iowa, reports the Times.
Sid Davidoff, a deputy campaign manager for former New York Mayor John V. Lindsay (who also ran for president) put it like this to paper: “New Yorkers want their mayor to be a national figure, but they want him to do it from the steps of City Hall because they want the garbage picked up.”
Well, looks like the mayor’s schedule just cleared up.