Is New York City ready for its first Jewish woman mayor?
That’s the question city residents could soon be asking as Queens County Politics has learned through a knowledgable source that Queens Borough President Melinda Katz is exploring a mayoral run in 2021.
“Melinda would be a very strong in there’s not a lot of white Jewish progressive candidates that have declared a run for mayor,” according to the knowledgable source.
The news comes as Katz recently sent out emails to potential campaign donors that she is holding a Valentine’s Day fundraiser with an eye towards the 2021 citywide elections.
“Today, I am excited to announce that I have opened up a new citywide campaign committee, Katz 2021, so I can continue to explore how I can serve the city I love long after my tenure as Borough President has ended. With Katz 2021, I’m ready to build a better future for New York City,” wrote Katz.
Queens County Democratic Party boss U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley is hosting the annual Valentine’s Day fundraising event at the swank Manhattan Barrel Room at Park Avenue Tavern on Feb. 12, in which donors can get some of Katz’s love through becoming her “Cupid” at $4,950 a pop, her “Valentine” at $2,500, or purchasing a “Rose” with a $1,000 contribution.
While that money sounds exorbitant it’s just a drop in the bucket compared to the roughly $10.2 million Mayor Bill de Blasio just spent to get re-elected, including about $3.5 million in public taxpayer money, according to the city’s Campaign Finance Board.
According to the knowledgable source, a Katz mayoral run would shake up the mayoral contest in a major way, and take a leg out from under Comptroller Scott Stringer, who is also likely to run for mayor.
“It will be hard for Scott as a Manhattan politician to grow outside of Manhattan,” said the source, noting Queens would have to be a major target of voters for him, particularly progressive Jackson Heights as well as some of the more conservative Queens neighborhoods.
The source said there are two likely African-American candidates – Public Advocate Letitia James and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, and one Hispanic candidate – Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz.
“A Katz candidacy would certainly elevate the level of debate right now and create an interesting dynamic” said the source.
And while Queens is the forgotten political borough, Melinda has done a great job in making it the next Brooklyn. What’s happening in such neighborhoods as Jamaica with economic development is unsung, the source added.
The bombshell news comes as Katz is preparing to deliver her 2018 State of the Borough address at 10 a.m., Friday, Jan. 26 at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School in Astoria.
And while Katz is preparing her speech, and lining up her ducks in a row for a major citywide run, she remains officially tight-lipped on her future plans.
“Melinda is exploring the best ways for her to continue her dedication and service to the future of the city she dearly loves,” said a Katz political spokesperson.