“And now I wonder who’s boss and who he’s leaving behind?” — Talking Heads
Scott Stringer may be running to be the least offensive mayor of New York City — and he could win.
While the rest of the country is sweating over the outcome of November’s presidential election, New York City’s master political class is already plotting out the permutations of a primary next June that will likely decide who will succeed Bill de Blasio in City Hall.
Stringer, the city’s comptroller, yesterday made it clear what everyone had assumed: he wants to run City Hall rather than just audit it from his offices in the Municipal Building across the street.
Comptrollers don’t have the best track record when it comes to running for mayor in New York. Since the city was consolidated in 1898, only Abe Beame made the transition to mayor and it was a pretty much a disaster during his four years in office.
But Stringer isn’t banking on you loving him — he’ll settle for a like. Next year, primary ballots will be cast using a new system of preferential voting, meaning people will rank their candidate choices. If you’re a polarizing candidate, you could be voted off the island more quickly than a candidate who has the flavor of vanilla.
So while Stringer will never be known for his fiery oratory or a signature policy issue in the comptroller’s office, being a decent public servant with a competent staff could be enough to propel him into City Hall.
The field will likely get crowded with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams expected to enter and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson among those poised to run.
Former federal Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan, who worked in the Bloomberg administration, is trying to tap into the Bloomberg mojo while three former officials in de Blasio’s administration are likely running: Loree Sutton, Maya Wiley, and Kathryn Garcia. Garcia, the city’s sanitation commissioner, announced yesterday she’s stepping down. And while both Wiley and Garcia were high-profile members of the administration, neither has run for office before.
There will be plenty of time for candidates to maneuver and perhaps even see the field grow some more – especially after the presidential election. For now, Scott Stringer hopes you don’t want any spice with your dinner order next June.