When Mayor Bloomberg departs City Hall at the end of his third term, he will leave behind a legacy unmatched in scope. Since taking office in 2002, Bloomberg has transformed virtually every aspect of Gotham. Some of his greatest feats include creating greener and cleaner outdoor spaces, overhauling the public school system, and enacting policies that brought crime to historic lows. Though the New York City Mayoral election is still a year and a half away, there has been plenty of media speculation on who will be his successor: who’s in, who’s out, and who’s going to spark the City’s next great political era.
There have already been game-changing dropouts since this sport of speculation began. Pre-tweeting scandal, Anthony Weiner was the frontrunner who would have likely enjoyed the support of the Clintons. At one point last summer, there was a somewhat-serious discussion of an Alec Baldwin-Kelsey Grammer matchup. One thing is certain: it is a crowded race, and there is simply no room for outsiders without ties to New York (sorry @JonHuntsman, @HuntsmanAbby).
Here are the must-know names at this stage in the game:
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) has yet to officially announce her candidacy, but is largely considered the front-runner in mayoral race. A Quinnipiac poll released on May 10 showed her leading the Democratic primary with 26 percent of the vote, a sizable share for a “hypothetical” contender. Speaker Quinn has enjoyed tremendous popularity during her tenure as a civil servant, and is known for having tirelessly lobbied for marriage equality in New York. Bloomberg is a close political ally, and the Mayor was recently quoted in the WSJ saying that “Chris Quinn is very competent and would be a very good mayor.”
He’s running. He isn’t running. Media speculation abounds on whether Police Commissioner Ray Kelly will vie for the City’s top post, mostly because he enjoys a 66% approval rating as police chief. Kelly has helped maintain New York’s position as the safest large city in America, and has been credited with thwarting a number of terrorist attacks with his innovative crime tactics. The GOP is hopeful that Kelly, a registered Independent, could bring a tinge of red to this otherwise Democratic fight.
Scott Stringer (D-Manhattan) is a familiar presence in the New York political sphere. Since 2006, Stringer has served as Manhattan Borough President, and prior to that, he spent 13 years as a State Assemblyman. Stringer is running on a decidedly anti-Bloomberg platform, having opposed the Mayor on a number of key issues including stop-and-frisk. Stringer has already called on celebrity endorsements for his campaign, having hosted a high-profile dinner with Scarlett Johansson in October, 2011.
The former Comptroller of New York City Bill Thompson hasn’t garnered as much media attention as his fellow contenders. Yet, Thompson almost eked out a win during the 2009 Mayoral Race against Mayor Bloomberg. As said on his website, [Thompson] was “outspent 14 to 1 and still came within just a few percentage points of unseating a lavishly self-financed incumbent.” Nevertheless, Thompson may not achieve the same level of enthusiasm in this pool of potentials.
Other names to look for as the race heats up:
John Catsimatidis (supermarket mogul)
John Liu (City Comptroller)
Tom Allon (media magnate)
Eva Moskowitz (education reformer)
Bill DeBlasio (New York City Public Advocate)