His former campaign treasurer is expected to go to trial on fraud charges next month, but that is not stopping John Liu who on Sunday formally announced his candidacy for mayor. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
City Comptroller John Liu officially announced his candidacy for mayor at City Hall on Sunday, joining a crowded Democratic field that includes City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, and former City Comptroller Bill Thompson.
"This can't be a city of rich and poor, of them and us. New York City needs to be one city," Liu said.
Liu had crowds -- several hundred -- behind his candidacy.
The steps of City Hall reached capacity and supporters overflowed into the adjacent park behind security gates.
As a populist touch, Liu gave his speech a second time.
"The rich keep getting filthy rich," Liu said.
He spent Sunday crisscrossing the five boroughs: St. Patrick's Day celebrations in Staten Island, handing out food for Passover in Brooklyn, and a Lunar New Year lunch in his own neighborhood of Flushing.
It was a schedule packed with 14 hours of events, the culmination of which took place at City Hall.
"Other candidates will also talk about housing, public education and job creation. But the difference between them and I, is I've lived it," Liu told supporters.
The comptroller has an uphill battle and his candidacy will include some skeptics.
On Sunday, he once again claimed he worked in a sweatshop as a child.
"And my mom spending years in a sweatshop, many days I had to join her in," Liu said.
That story was challenged when he ran for comptroller in 2009. And next month his former campaign treasurer and a campaign fundraiser will stand trial for fraud.
The comptroller hasn't been implicated with any wrongdoing but his own phone was tapped during the investigation.
And the allegations have made some question his candidacy for the city's highest office.
"People have said there is a witch hunt. The problem is there is no witch," Liu said.
The comptroller says no matter what happens at next month's trial his campaign will continue full steam ahead, and says clearly his support has not dwindled.