With Bill DeBlasio in the race, how does this impact the field?

Senator Gillibrand likely to take the biggest hit.




On Thursday, New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio announced his candidacy for President of the United States on the Democratic ticket. As the campaign unfolds, this will undoubtedly have an effect on the race, particularly for northeastern candidates.


DeBlasio is the mayor of the largest city in the country, so he has considerably more name recognition at the beginning of his campaign than the other mayor in the race did, Pete Buttigieg. In fact, DeBlasio obtained seven times as many votes in his last election than the total population of South Bend. Both mayors have fairly progressive policy stances, and DeBlasio has made a name for himself by advocating for item like universal Pre-K, millionaire taxes, and rent caps. While he may have issues with name recognition in rural America, he will probably bank on big-city, socially progressive appeal to power his campaign.


Unfortunately for him, he will be competing with a lot of other Democrats in a very difficult primary. His progressive policy proposals may seem too authoritarian for the moderate wing of the party, led (at least in the polls) by Joe Biden. On the other hand, candidates like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have a stronghold on the support of progressive voters. Sanders’ long career in politics and his ability to appeal to the masses of urban, suburban, and exurban voters will make him difficult to surpass for control of the progressive wing of the party. Without an outreach strategy for suburban and rural voters, DeBlasio’s candidacy may have a hard time getting off the ground.


That does not necessarily mean that he will not have an impact on the race. He is likely to capture the support of many New Yorkers, pulling votes away from New York Senator Kirstin Gillibrand. As candidates vie for support in their own states, it leaves the door open for other candidates to win a plurality and damages the chances of both of the declared candidates because they are fighting over the hometown appeal. Such is likely to be the case in New York, but DeBlasio will also have an impact on other northeastern primaries. His early polling numbers in the next month or two may not look like much, but a few points may be all that it takes to swing a couple of states from one candidate to another.