Zach Iscol announced last night that he’s officially dropping out of the 2021 Mayoral race… so that he can enter the City Comptroller race instead.
The announcement took place at 7 p.m. over Zoom. Iscol was joined by a bevy of his supporters and campaign staff.
To begin, Iscol made it clear that his campaign for Mayor wasn’t going poorly. In fact, he was quite proud of the fundraising he was able to accomplish as a Mayoral candidate. From July 2020 to Jan. 2021, he raised $746,190; of all the Mayoral candidates, Ray McGuire and Shaun Donovan were the only ones who raised more money during that timeframe.
“Our strategy was to really focus on fundraising, and catch up to the field by January,” said Iscol. “That strategy paid off, and that was really thanks to all of your incredible support. What we did in three months is sort of remarkable.”
His success allowed him to participate in candidate forums, where he got to see firsthand what the rest of the crop of Mayoral candidates looked like. To his delight, what he saw was an array of smart, motivated and qualified candidates, from a wide variety of social, racial and economic backgrounds.
“The five or six leading candidates, they’re remarkable people,” said Iscol. “There are some candidates that would make history as the first woman mayor; there are some people of color who are running. And they’re not just diverse in terms of gender and race, but also in terms of ideas, experiences and backgrounds. I’ve spent a lot of time on the phone with them over the last few days. I’m confident that we will have a solid mayor next year.”
But the Comptroller race, by comparison, is dismally small and lacking in diversity. Only a small handful of candidates are running for that office, and most of them are career politicians. From Iscol’s perspective, the Mayoral race would be fine without him, while the Comptroller race desperately needed new faces.
“All of [the Comptroller candidates] have their share of issues,” he said. “There’s also not a lot of diversity among them, in terms of ideas. Most of them are in the same lane.”
He later elaborated that the race is almost solely comprised of staunch leftists. As a moderate, he pledged that he would use the office to hold the City accountable, “and not in the pursuit of more radical policies.”
Iscol also stressed that he doesn’t see this change as a step down, asserting that the office of Comptroller is arguably just as important as that of the Mayor. The Comptroller is responsible for auditing the financial performance of the entire city; they are, as Iscol put it, “the city’s watchdog”.
“We’re spending $3 billion a year on homelessness,” he said. “It’s not just the Comptroller’s job to know where that money’s going, but to make sure that we’re solving homelessness. If we’re talking about education, it’s the job of the Comptroller to say, ‘what could we really be doing with the resources we have at hand? How can we make sure that no child in our care is food insecure, or housing insecure?'”
Iscol concluded his broadcast by thanking his base for their support, and expressing optimism for the future.
“Today’s been an incredible day,” he said. “It really has been, and it wouldn’t have been possible without all of you. So, thank you, we’re deeply grateful. Stay tuned, look out for emails, and we’ll see all of you out on the campaign trail.”