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Pack it in: 100 days into his campaign for president, de Blasio is going nowhere fast

2019-08-23

Playing in Peoria, AWOL in the Big Apple. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Today marks the 100th day of Mayor de Blasio’s run for the Democratic nomination for president. To paraphrase what a previous mayor often asked of his performance on the job he was being paid to do, how’s he doin'?

There are more than 20 candidates vying for the golden ticket. In national polls, Joe Biden gets the support of 28.8% of Democrats, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls. Bernie Sanders, 16%. Elizabeth Warren, 15.4%. Kamala Harris, 7.4%. Pete Buttigieg, another mayor, 5%.

De Blasio doesn’t register on that polling average. He is behind former tech executive Andrew Yang (1.8%). Self-help guru Marianne Williamson (0.8%). Jay Inslee, the Washington governor, who just dropped out to go back to his day job (0.2%).

But wait, you say, national polls don’t catapult people to the general elections. State caucuses and primaries do.

In New Hampshire, de Blasio is currently behind Biden, Sanders, Warren, Harris, Buttigieg, (Rep. Tulsi) Gabbard, (billionaire Tom) Steyer, Yang, (Amy) Klobuchar, (Julián ) Castro, (Kirsten) Gillibrand and (Cory) Booker. And in Iowa. And in South Carolina, where he was counting on a strategic breakout.

The anemic polling is matched by a paltry fundraising haul: $1.1 million in the first reporting cycle, from about 6,700 contributors (90% of the dollar total came from people giving $200 or more, and 70% of his donors were tied to the Hotel Trades Council, which endorsed de Blasio’s bid). He’d need cash from 130,000 unique donors along with a poll position of 2% to make next month’s debate.

Notwithstanding the total, de Blasio already stands credibly accused of having used a state political action committee as a shadow presidential exploratory committee; one good government group called this “a shell game to arrange for a small number of wealthy donors to illegally support de Blasio’s presidential run above and beyond legal contribution limits.”

Meanwhile, in the city where his name sits atop the government letterhead, cyclists are dying in bunches. A new school year is about to start; and test scores, just out, only inched up from 2018. A new public housing authority chair has started collecting his $402,628 salary, but residents in developments across the city still wait desperately for relief from mold and leaks and lead paint poisoning.

Homeless people are taking over subway cars, with related service disruptions having tripled over a decade. Plans to close Rikers Island have hit stiff headwinds. Though crime remains low and the economy is healthy, shooting incidents are up from last year.

Let’s ask that question again: How’s he doin'?