De Blasio sought to cast himself as the most progressive candidate in the large field of Democrats vying to take on President Donald Trump, and he used his time on the national stage to attack less progressive candidates, namely former Vice President Joe Biden, for positions that he felt were out of step with the current mood of the Democratic Party.
In the end, however, de Blasio was unable to convince liberal Democrats that he was more qualified than Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren or Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the two leading liberals in the 2020 race.
“I feel like I’ve contributed all I can to this primary election and it’s clearly not my time,” de Blasio said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “So I’m going to end my presidential campaign, continue my work as mayor of New York City, and I’m going to keep speaking up for working people and for a Democratic Party that stands for working people.”
De Blasio, 58, pledged on Friday to push for progressive ideas as the Democratic primary process continues.
“Whoever our nominee is, let’s make sure we’re speaking to the hearts of working people and they know we’re on their side. And if we do that, we’re going to win. If we don’t, this is an election that could go the other way,” he said.
Unlike some of his opponents, de Blasio had been aggressive in attacking candidates who he felt were not going far enough with their presidential runs.
“Joe Biden told wealthy donors that nothing will fundamentally change if he were president,” he said at CNN’s July debate in Detroit. “(California Sen.) Kamala Harris said she’s not trying to restructure society, Well, I am.”
De Blasio targeted Biden, the Democratic front-runner, multiple times during his run. After it was initially revealed that Biden did not support the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which outlaws federal funds being used for abortion with the exception of rape, incest and the life of the mother at risk, de Blasio pounced and tweeted, “if you don’t support repeal, you shouldn’t be the Democratic nominee.”
The New York mayor’s decision to drop out now is an acknowledgment that he was not going to qualify for the October debate. After failing to qualify for the September debate, the mayor said that he likely wouldn’t stay in the race if he was unable to qualify for October’s contest.
“I think the logical thing to say is, you know, I’m going to go and try to get into the October debates,” de Blasio said. “And if I can, I think that’s a good reason to keep going forward and if I can’t, I think it’s really tough to conceive of continuing. So that’s the way I’m looking at it right now.”
This story has been updated.