Former NYC mayor de Blasio hints at a return to politics to represent Orthodox Jews

Written by on May 18, 2022

NEW YORK – Former New York City mayor Bill de Blasio may be making a return to politics, this time for a run in a newly drawn congressional district in the state.

State Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein, a Democrat, was told by de Blasio that “he is committed to running in the race” and has already called donors to inform them of his intentions, Eichenstein told The New York Post.

The former New York chief executive is eyeing a run in the city’s 10th Congressional District, which is open now that US Rep. Jerry Nadler (D) was moved to the 12th District in Manhattan. Brooklyn’s 10th District includes Borough Park, home to one of the largest ultra-Orthodox communities outside of Israel. 

Asher Lovy, a former Borough Park resident, expressed uncertainty that de Blasio could win on an Orthodox vote alone.

“While de Blasio would certainly be an attractive candidate to the Orthodox population of the newly drawn district, I’m skeptical of his ability to win on the strength of the Orthodox vote alone,” Lovy told The Jerusalem Post. “While the community’s close ties to him may make him their preferred candidate, he is generally disliked by the rest of the city who I believe are sick and tired of him. While the newly drawn district is compromised of a significant Orthodox population, there are other candidates who will emerge that I’m sure will be much more appealing to a broader cross-section of the district’s population.” 

A NYPD officer speaks with Ultra-Orthodox Jews as they gather in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn amid the coronavirus outbreak in New York, US October 7, 2020 (credit: REUTERS/YUKI IWAMURA)A NYPD officer speaks with Ultra-Orthodox Jews as they gather in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn amid the coronavirus outbreak in New York, US October 7, 2020 (credit: REUTERS/YUKI IWAMURA)

Term-limited de Blasio was succeeded by Mayor Eric Adams, also a Democrat, on January 1. In his final few months, just 37% of city residents approved of the job de Blasio was doing. 47% disapproved, according to a Spectrum poll. 

While in office during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, de Blasio drew sharp criticism from New York’s Jewish electorate after he singled out “the Jewish community” in a trio of tweets announcing that he had instructed his police department to fine or even arrest social distancing violators in response to a funeral that had drawn hundreds of Orthodox Jews to the streets of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to mourn a rabbi who died of the coronavirus.

Others who have expressed interested in the highly sought-after 10th District congressional seat are State Sen. Simcha Felder, (D-Borough Park), State Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan), Sate Assemblyman Robert Carroll (D-Park Slope), and former NYC comptroller Scott Stringer (Democrat).

JTA contributed to this report. 

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