Heckles, Support, Shrugs: New Yorkers on de Blasio’s Presidential Bid

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In the video announcing his presidential run, Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York City, described his hometown as “legendarily tough and big and complicated.”

Soon after, New Yorkers proved just how apt that was.

As Mr. de Blasio officially kicked off his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday, the reactions of city residents ran the gamut from support to indifference to vehement objection.

Outside ABC’s television studios in Times Square, a small crowd was gathered to greet the mayor when he arrived for an appearance on “Good Morning America.”

Among them were protesters including police officers, many of whom said they had called in sick so they could heckle Mr. de Blasio and his campaign.

As the mayor, the 23rd entrant in the Democratic race, entered the ABC studio for an interview with George Stephanopoulos, protesters shouted that Mr. de Blasio was “no friend of labor.”

Throughout Mr. de Blasio’s live TV appearance, they chanted, “Can’t run the city, can’t run the country.”

John Puglissi, 51, the first vice president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, was among those waving orange foam fingers that called Mr. de Blasio a liar.

“He should run away,” Mr. Puglissi said. “Him joining the race is a joke. He’s no friend of labor. He’s a phony progressive.”

Still, not everyone watching the kickoff of Mr. de Blasio’s campaign shared the officers’ evaluations.

In Long Island City, Queens, home to the country’s largest housing project, Regina Dorch was eager to see the mayor seek higher office.

“I’m very excited,” said Ms. Dorch, 53, a longtime resident of the project, the Queensbridge Houses. “He’s a people person — he’s for everybody. He wants to help everyone survive.”

Ms. Dorch said she was not sure if she would vote for Mr. de Blasio, but was glad that she might have the chance. “I like him, and he will do well if he wins, but I like Joe Biden, too,” she said. Mr. Biden announced last month that he would seek the Democratic nomination.

In an interview on the local news station NY1, Jumaane D. Williams, the city’s public advocate, said Mr. de Blasio had every right to enter the race.

“He’s qualified,” Mr. Williams told NY1’s Pat Kiernan. “I can’t begrudge him for running.”

Mr. Williams’s opinion was hardly the consensus among New Yorkers. As speculation grew that Mr. de Blasio would jump into the political fray, the city’s often-divided residents appeared to achieve a rare unity in their belief that he should not run.

In an April poll conducted by Quinnipiac University, New York City voters gave Mr. de Blasio a 42 percent approval rating.

The poll also found that three-quarters of the city’s voters believed that Mr. de Blasio should not run for president. Forty-seven percent of them said that if he decided to run, it would be bad for New York City.

Mr. Williams stopped short of that, saying he took no issue with the mayor’s campaign. But he did not exactly voice his support.

“If the question is ‘Would I like to see you do for the country what you did for New York City?’, I would have to answer no to that,” Mr. Williams said.

Sharon Otterman and Edgar Sandoval contributed reporting.


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