John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.
Barely 2 months after Hillary Clinton lost the presidency to Donald Trump, she is being urged by major Democratic donors and leaders to make a bid for New York City’s mayor and challenge incumbent Bill de Blasio, Newsmax has learned.
THINKING ABOUT IT
“She talking about it,” a former city Democratic elected official admitted to Newsmax over the weekend, saying the idea has not been dismissed by the former first lady’s inner circle.
He and other sources say Clinton is being pushed to run by Democrats dissatisfied over de Blasio’s mayoralty.
“If she ran, she’d win,” another source with deep ties to the Democratic and media establishment said.
Some Clinton advisers are reportedly predicting Trump will stumble badly in his first term, encouraging Hillary to stay on the side-lines in case she wants to make another bid for the White House in 2020.
But even her closest allies say the chances of her running for president again are small.
Veteran New York Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf told Newsmax that Clinton “would be a terrific candidate for mayor.”
“She is wildly popular among New Yorkers — so much so that were she to file, de Blasio would have to file his retirement papers on the same day.”
CAMPAIGN MANAGER IN 2000
In the past, de Blasio and Clinton have had a friendly relationship and the mayor served as campaign manager in her first race for the U.S. Senate in 2000.
NOT CURRENTLY CLOSE
But other Democrats say the pair are not close today, and Hillary no longer backs de Blasio’s strident progressivism.
Sheinkopf, a top operative in Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign, recalled “de Blasio endorsed her very late in the Democratic race last year and at times appeared to be quite friendly to Bernie Sanders.”
Clinton’s spokesperson did not return a call for comment, but her reported consideration of a mayoral bid comes at a time the embattled de Blasio is at his lowest ebb in popularity since taking office in 2013.
The New York Post started the new year with an editorial blasting Hizzoner: “[V]agrancy is way up, along with aggressive panhandling and related intrusions into public spaces. Plus, streets seem dirtier, graffiti is out of control, traffic is a nightmare, and the subways are crowded beyond belief.”
The paper also noted “the mayor and his administration have been the subject of one state or federal investigation or another from his earliest months in office.”
Clinton would offer de Blasio a stiff challenge, quickly raising money through her national network of supporters.
She remains popular in New York City. She just carried the Big Apple, winning 79 percent of the vote against its hometown boy Donald Trump. She also carried the city in two Senate landslides.
De Blasio, who counts Hispanics and Blacks as his core supporters, would find “Team Clinton” – Hillary and Bill – as formidable opponents who could cut into his base vote. Bill Clinton still maintains his presidential offices in Harlem.
Some critics suggest the New York mayoralty would be a step down for the internationally celebrated Clintons.
But some supporters say Mrs. Clinton could delegate local governance to a strong team of deputy mayors as she used the stage New York affords to become a national leader for Democratic issues and values – while relishing her new role in Trump’s own backyard.
At least nine other Democrats are eyeing a bid for mayor this year. Among those mentioned are:
- New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer;
- Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr;
- Outgoing Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan, who also served as city housing preservation and development commissioner under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Republican billionaire John Catsimatidis is also mulling a bid. Catsimatidis ran for the Republican mayoral nomination in 2013 and lost, but remains a popular figure in GOP and media circles.