New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is trying and failing to shore up his unpopularity with an effort at strengthening his party’s Senate position.
According to a Politico survey, most prospective Democratic senators “wouldn’t accept the mayor’s aid even if offered.” There is little love lost between de Blasio and his party, who alternately view him both as too liberal and too conservative. There is also the small matter of past probes into his fundraising practices.
De Blasio’s “Fairness PAC” takes aim at pivotal Senate races across the country. When he debuted it in July, the New York City mayor said that it was part of a focused effort to “take back the House, take back the Senate, take back the state Senate — all general election issues.”
Though many candidates refuse to take de Blasio’s money, most stop shy of open criticism. Most have asserted that they will simply focus on their own local fundraising efforts. “I don’t know the mayor and won’t be receiving any contributions from him,” said Long Island candidate Anna Kaplan.
Schuyler County Democratic candidate Michael Lausell was diplomatic but clearly unimpressed. In an e-mail to Politico, Lausell said, “the Fairness PAC proposes an unclear mission at present, though whether for lack of direction or simply for too broad of a mission I am unable to tell.”
Meanwhile, de Blasio spokesperson Eric Phillips released a statement saying:
There isn’t a mayor in America that is popular in every electoral district in their state. Bill de Blasio has won four citywide elections by huge margins. He looks forward to being one of many people helping to get the state Senate back in Democratic hands and on the side of working people.
Former city comptroller and mayoral primary rival John Liu was significantly more explicit about his opinion. Politico said that he “laughed” when asked about seeking de Blasio’s support for his current run for Queens senator. “What else is there to say? I try not to mention his name when I talk with voters, because it’s never a good reaction,” he said.