Former Mayor Bill de Blasio officially announced Friday that he will run for US Congress, entering what is expected to be a crowded field of Democratic contenders for a newly carved out 10th district — stretching from Lower Manhattan to the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Borough Park and Park Slope .
“People are hurting, they need help, they need help fast and they need leaders who can actually get them help now,” de Blasio said during an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “I do know how to do it from years of serving the people of this city and so today I am declaring my candidacy for the 10th Congressional District of New York.”
The two-term mayor had signaled his interest in the seat earlier this week when he opened up an exploratory committee.
De Blasio comes into the race with the most name recognition and decades’ worth of political connections in the area. Prior to being mayor, he served as the city’s public advocate and a Council member for Park Slope. But he will be tested in his ability to win back some of the liberal and Orthodox Jewish voters in the district who soured on him during his mayoralty.
State Sen. Brad Holyman of Manhattan has said he plans to run along with five other elected officials who are eyeing the seat. They include Assembly members Robert Carroll and Jo Anne Simon, of Brooklyn, Yuh-Line Niou, of Manhattan and state Sen. Simcha Felder.
Niou has said she is planning to make “a major announcement” on Saturday in Chinatown.
It’s not clear whether Mayor Eric Adams plans to endorse a candidate in the race. Asked about a potential de Blasio candidacy on Thursday, Adams was notably restrained.
“Everyone should have an opportunity to present their case in front of the people,” he said during an interview on WPIX. “The people make the decision on who’s going to represent them in Washington.”
Following de Blasio’s announcement of his exploratory committee, Assembly member Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, the head of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, released a statement saying the former mayor is “the most qualified progressive candidate who I believe can win this diverse seat.”
A spokesperson for Bichotte later clarified that the statement was not intended as an endorsement.
The new district emerged after the state’s highest court ruled the maps drawn by Democrats amounted to unconstitutional gerrymandering and ordered a “special master” to redraw them for state Senate and Congressional districts.
The maps are set to be finalized by a judge on Friday, but de Blasio said he expects the lines to be approved.
“I don’t know yet who all the competitors will be,” he added. “People have not yet made their final decisions. I’ve made my decision. And I’ll tell you I feel a fire.”