Scott Stringer Drops Out of Mayoral Race to Run For Comptroller

By Jill Colvin on November 18, 2012 6:30pm 

NEW YORK CITY — Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer has dropped his bid to become the city's next mayor.

Stringer formally announced Sunday that he will instead be running for comptroller, after he failed to gain traction in a crowded field of hopefuls that includes City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, current city Comptroller John Liu and former Comptroller Bill Thompson.

"I made the determination, after talking to family, friends and supporters, that I could do a lot with this office," Stringer told DNAinfo.com New York Sunday of his change of heart.

“I think the comptroller’s office is very important given the fiscal situation that the city faces. I think that my skill set and my record will enable me to best serve the people of this city as comptroller," he said.

Stringer had struggled to gain traction in early polls against a strong field of presumptive mayoral candidates. An August Quinnipiac poll gave him just 4 percent of the vote in a theoretical Democratic primary, far behind Quinn (29 percent), Thompson (10 percent) and de Blasio (9 percent). Even scandal-scarred Liu, whose fundraising is under federal investigation, earned more than twice as much support as Stringer, tying de Blasio with 9 percent of the vote.

He said that his decision was also shaped by conversations he had with residents who were deeply worried about the economy as he traveled around the city while exploring a mayoral bid.

“I can play a role here to help them," he said, pointing to recent reports by his office exposing fiscal waste, and his experience serving on the city's franchise review committee and as a board member of the city's largest pension fund.

The decision to run for comptroller will put Stringer in direct competition against popular Manhattan City Councilman Dan Garodnick, who declared a bid for the post in April. The council's Finance Chair Domenic Recchia, Jr. is also expected to enter the race.

Stringer's decision will have no impact on Garodnick's campaign plans, his spokesman Dan Levitan said Sunday.

Stringer immediately rolled out a list of endorsements from officials including former Mayor Ed Koch and Rep. Jerrold Nadler.

“Scott Stringer has the skills, the smarts and the integrity to be a great New York City comptroller, which is why I am proud to support his candidacy," Koch said in a statement.

"As a city we are facing enormous fiscal challenges right now, whether it’s rebuilding from the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy, addressing deep budget gaps or confronting high unemployment in the years ahead. The office of comptroller has never been more important," he said.

Stringer had been expected to do well among Jewish voters, as well as across the west side and Upper Manhattan, where he was born and raised. His decision to bow out of the mayoral race could prove beneficial to Quinn, who shares some of his progressive, Manhattan base, observers have said.

But other campaigns were quick to argue their candidates would benefit, too.

Rebecca Katz, a spokeswoman for de Blasio, praised Stringer's "strong record as a progressive reformer," and made the case that, with Stringer out, de Blasio would be the clear choice to the left of Quinn.

"His decision further clarifies the 2013 landscape, and identifies Bill as the clear progressive alternative," she said.

Before being elected Manhattan Borough President in 2006, Stringer spent 13 years in the state Assembly representing the West Side.

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