NEW YORK - This week New York City Comptroller John Liu started fundraising in Chinatown for the 2013 mayoral election. Many of those invited to the fundraising dinner were influential political figures, including several well-known Chinese community members. Although the invitation did not indicate what position Liu will be running for, many invitees and those involved in politics all believe that Liu is preparing to run for mayor of New York City.
In response to questions from World Journal, Liu expressed gratitude for the support and encouragement of the community. "We all believe that we have to prepare for any possible candidacy," he said, although he did not confirm intentions to run for mayor. In 2009, Liu was elected by a landslide of 76 percent, or 696,330 votes, to become the first Asian American to serve as comptroller of New York City. The number of votes he received was even higher than those received by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
According to many of those invited to the December 7 fundraiser, if Liu runs for mayor, the community will wholeheartedly support him. Some also believe that since 2013 is still relatively far away; there are many variables that could still come into play, so Liu should take the time later to reconsider in order to make a clear decision.
Liu, a former city councilman, has been working hard and achieving much since the start of his term as comptroller, and his hard work has been recognized by many. Although the community has always hoped that he would run for an even higher position, Liu emphasizes that right now he is focusing on his current job. In addition to his official role in the community, Liu still maintains strong ties to different ethnic communities and often attends community events and answers questions from reporters in different ethnic communities.
Liu's relationship with Mayor Bloomberg has also been to said to have "improved," and many feel that Mayor Bloomberg has recognized more of Liu's work than that of former Comptroller Thompson. When Mayor Bloomberg visited Hong Kong last month, he invited Liu to come along. And Mayor Bloomberg has shown on a regular basis that he respects Liu's judgment and often actively solicits his opinion.
In addition to Liu, there are a number of potential candidates for next New York City mayor, including current Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who is a former city councilman and who also has the support of the Black and Hispanic-backed Labor Party. In the last election, to avoid in-fighting in the Democratic Party, Representative Anthony Weiner withdrew from the race, but could be a possible contender in the next race. There is also former Comptroller William Thompson Jr., who barely lost the election against Mayor Bloomberg, and there is also current Manhattan President Scott Stringer, who has been very involved in New York politics. Some of these candidates have already started fundraising. Although many political analysts believe as quite early, for Liu to start fundraising, it is consistent with his well-prepared style – last year, Liu was the candidate with the most campaign donations. This may indicate that Liu is not seeking re-election but rather preparing to seek a higher office.
From the opinions of December 7 fundraiser invitees and other community members, Liu has a great chance of winning in 2013. First, he is currently the only Asian-American candidate. If Thompson does not end up running, Liu would be the only minority candidate. If Liu continues to gather support from minority groups and use his performance to win over white voters, Liu would be sure to garner at least as many votes as other top contenders. In addition, since his election as comptroller, he has investigated wasteful spending and unethical practices, making City government more transparent. His work in this regard has been outstanding. Finally, Liu running for a higher position such as mayor would fulfill the wishes of many residents.
However, there are still those who see Liu's 2013 election as risky. Liu has only served as comptroller for one term. It is not yet sure that in the next three years he will continue to do well and avoid strong criticism. Some say they will reserve judgment until they see who else decides to run in 2013.