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New York City mayor Bill de Blasio enters 2020 presidential race

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio takes part in a St Patrick's Day parade on Fifth Avenue. Picture by Niall Carson/PA
Karen Matthews, Associated Press

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio has announced he will seek the Democratic nomination for president, adding his name to an already long list of candidates itching for a chance to take on Donald Trump.

The mayor announced his run with a video released by his campaign.

"There's plenty of money in this world. There's plenty of money in this country. It's just in the wrong hands," Mr de Blasio says at the beginning of the video.

He concludes: "I'm running for president because it's time we put working people first."

In announcing his candidacy, Mr de Blasio seeks to claim a role on the national stage that has eluded him as mayor of the biggest US city.

When he took office in 2014 he seemed briefly poised to become a leading voice for an emerging left wing of the Democratic Party.

But liberal enthusiasm faded over his first term, partly because of political missteps at home and the emergence of bigger names elsewhere.

Mr Trump, himself a New Yorker, quickly reacted to the announcement with a trademark tweet, mocking the mayor.

He wrote: "The Dems are getting another beauty to join their group. Bill de Blasio of NYC, considered the worst mayor in the U.S., will supposedly be making an announcement for president today. He is a JOKE, but if you like high taxes & crime, he's your man. NYC hates him!"

The mayor could face obstacles trying to distinguish himself in a crowded field.

Mr de Blasio (58) has drawn small audiences so far in visits to early primary states including Iowa, South Carolina, Nevada and New Hampshire, where an audience of six showed up for a mental health discussion.

A recent Quinnipiac University poll found 76 per cent of New York City voters say they believe he should not run.

Mr de Blasio's hometown press has, so far, delighted in disparaging his presidential hopes.

'De Blasio For President? Nah,' read one recent New York Times headline summing up the city's reaction to his possible candidacy.

'Who Hasn't Told Bill De Blasio That He Shouldn't Run For President?', asked New York Magazine.

Mr de Blasio, though, has remained undaunted by the obstacles and said he believes he has a message that can resonate with the American public.

Political observers said that even if Mr de Blasio's candidacy does not catch fire, he will be able to promote his policies and potentially angle for a job in a future Democratic administration.

He is barred by term limits from running for mayor again.

On the campaign trail, Mr de Blasio will be able to cite accomplishments like expanding full-day pre-kindergarten and curtailing police tactics that critics said were discriminatory, while presiding over continued drops in violent crime.

His central message remains fighting income inequality.

With his candidacy, he becomes the latest in a line of New York City mayors who have run for president. None has ever won.

John Lindsay sought the office in 1972 while Rudy Giuliani ran in 2008.

Michael Bloomberg flirted with a run for years before ruling it out in both the 2016 and 2020 campaigns.

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