7:36 pm Dec. 12, 2012
Former city councilman Sal Albanese will enter the Democratic primary for mayor, in what will be his third bid for the job.
In a brief telephone interview this evening, Albanese, 62, said, "I will be entering the race. I'm going to announce Monday or Tuesday."
Albanese, who City Limits once described as a "blue-collar progressive" and a "principled outsider," represented Bay Ridge in the Council from 1982 to 1997.
"Without commenting on any of the other candidates, I think I can do a better job than any of the other candidates in the race," he said.
In addition to citing his experience as a legislator, Albanese said he would stress his independence and if elected, would promote nonpartisan elections.
Albanese said he'll leave his job at a financial service company and will be campaigning full-time come January. He's in the process of hiring Chris McCreight, who ran the Democratic campaign against Republican state senator Marty Golden in Brooklyn. Albanese said he was looking to hire a campaign spokesman and was going to launch his campaign with a personal loan, though he did not give a specific dollar figure.
Fund-raising has been a problem for Albanese in the past.
"I am not going to lead my supporters on a suicide mission," he said in 2000, when he pulled out of the mayor's race, having raised just $280,000, several million dollars less than the leading candidates.
Albanese said he had spoken to his family and friends, but not reached out to his likely rivals yet.
"It's kind of awkward. I don't know what I to say," he said.
He said the Democratic candidates for mayor were "all good people," but "I think I can do a better job as mayor."
Albanese's reemergence could complicate the strategy for another Democratic lawmaker from Brooklyn looking to run for mayor next year, Bill de Blasio. Recently, de Blasio began to frame his campaign around theme of income inequality, referring to New York City in Dickensian terms as a "tale of two cities."
Albanese used similar language in his 1997 run, calling the city under Republican mayor Rudy Giuliani "a tale of two cities," and said, "I think we are more divided than ever."
The Times called it a "seemingly quixotic" candidacy, and puzzled over how Albanese had won re-election so many times in the Republican-friendly Bay Ridge, as a supporter of David Dinkins, gay rights, and a living wage bill. (He was also in favor of the death penalty and abortion rights.)
In the primary that year, he tried running to the right of Ruth Messinger, the Manhattan Borough President and leading Democrat in the race. By March, Albanese was trailing in the polls behind Messinger and Ferrer (but ahead of Al Sharpton), and he eventually finished in third.
In 2008, he ran to become an Obama delegate. Though the Times said he did "very little in politics" since leaving office, Albanese admitted, "Once you're in the arena, it's tough to totally disengage."