The city's most high-profile charter school founder, Eva Moskowitz, announced on Thursday that she is not running for mayor in 2017. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
It is not every day that this many reporters come out to hear a would-be political candidate talk about what they are not going to be doing. But charter school founder Eva Moskowitz draws a crowd, and she did so outside City Hall Thursday to announce she is sitting out the next mayor's race.
For some critics of Mayor Bill de Blasio, Moskowitz represented an exciting potential challenger. She is a former City Councilwoman with ties to wealthy Wall Street backers who could bankroll a campaign. Students at her charter schools earn some of the highest test scores in the state.
Moskowitz said she decided against a bid for City Hall to focus on improving schools.
"I believe we have the chance to dramatically change public education - of doing for education, frankly, what Apple did with computing for the iPhone, what Google is doing with driverless cars," Moskowitz said.
Moskowitz made the announcement a day after closing her 34 schools so that her 11,000 students could participate in a massive rally in support of charter schools.
A mayoral campaign would undoubtedly have gotten ugly, as her announcement made clear. Protesters gathered in nearby City Hall Park, chanting throughout her press conference.
"It's a free country, and so people can shout and boo," Moskowitz said.
Charter school opponents even jumped behind the podium seconds after Moskowitz wrapped up.
"The hedge fund billionaires who have sponsored Eva Moskowitz's efforts have already made it known they plan to run another another candidate. So we can fully anticipate that they will have a puppet candidate," said Billy Easton of the Alliance for Quality Education.
Having Moskowitz on the sidelines is arguably good news for de Blasio, but he has by no means cleared the field. At least not yet.