'It's clearly not my time': New York mayor Bill de Blasio leaves presidential race

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In a photo taken on Aug 2, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at a news conference at City Hall in New York. PHOTO: NYTIMES

NEW YORK (WASHINGTON POST) - New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Friday (Sept 20) that he is dropping out of the Democratic presidential race after failing to gain traction in the crowded field, saying that "it's clearly not my time".

"Getting out there, being able to hear people's concerns, addressing them with new ideas, has been an extraordinary experience, but I have to tell you at the same time I feel like I've contributed all I can to this primary election, and it's clearly not my time, so I'm going to end my presidential campaign," Mr de Blasio said during an appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe.

He vowed to "keep speaking up for working people".

Mr de Blasio, who failed to qualify for the third Democratic debate last week in Houston, joined the race in May. A September poll of New York showed zero per cent support in his home state.

During his MSNBC appearance, Mr de Blasio said he was not ready to endorse any of his fellow Democrats but said he would support the party's eventual nominee.

"Whoever's the nominee, I'm going to be there for them," said Mr de Blasio, who won his second term as mayor of the country's biggest city in 2017.

Mr de Blasio is the sixth Democratic candidate to exit the race since July. Others who have dropped out include representative Eric Swalwell of California; former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, Washington governor Jay Inslee, representative Seth Moulton of Massachusetts and senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.

President Donald Trump was quick to weigh in on Mr de Blasio's departure, posting a sarcastic tweet.

"Oh no, really big political news, perhaps the biggest story in years!" Mr Trump wrote. "Part time Mayor of New York City, @BilldeBlasio, who was polling at a solid ZERO but had tremendous room for growth, has shocking dropped out of the Presidential race. NYC is devastated, he's coming home!"

In an opinion piece posted on Wednesday morning on an NBC News website, Mr de Blasio argued that Democrats "must return to our roots as a party focused on bold solutions that speak to the concerns of working people".

"If we do not, we will lose in 2020," he said. "Yes, Donald Trump lies to working people, but he at least pretends to talk to them. That may be enough for him to win, if we do not constantly make it clear that the Democrats are the party of everyday Americans in rural counties and urban centres, the coasts and the heartland."

Mr de Blasio also vowed to "redouble my efforts to improve the quality of life of everyday New Yorkers".

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