Carlos Menchaca bows out of mayoral race

carlos menchaca
Sunset Park Councilmember Carlos Menchaca bowed out of the mayoral race on March 24.
New York City Council/John McCarten

Sunset Park Councilmember Carlos Menchaca has pulled the plug on his long-shot candidacy for mayor.

The term-limited lawmaker — who represents Red Hook, Sunset Park, and parts of Windsor Terrace, Dyker Heights, and Borough Park in the City Council — said in an announcement on Wednesday that his “path to a primary victory is no longer attainable.”

“I decided to run for mayor because I believed I could help bring a voice to neglected communities across this city and bring the systemic change needed to create a more equitable, affordable, and just New York,” Menchaca said in a written statement.

The councilmember jumped into the race in October with a staunchly progressive platform that advocated for steep funding cuts to the Police Department, an ambitious green energy plan that would provide clean manufacturing jobs, and the installation of municipal broadband to give all residents high-speed internet. 

But the 40-year-old candidate, who would have been the city’s first Mexican-American and openly gay mayor, was unable to make headway in the five months since he first announced his candidacy. Menchaca battled other progressive candidates with large followings — such as Maya Wiley, Scott Stringer, and Dianne Morales —  leaving him little room to emerge as a serious contender.

“As the youngest elected official in this race, I sought to bring new ideas and energy to this campaign and defy the status quo,” Menchaca said. “I am grateful to the people who believed in me and my vision. Thank you for the time you volunteered and the contributions you made. Together we put forward progressive ideas on universal basic income, housing, and police accountability. We should be proud of the ideas we fought for.”

Menchaca’s withdrawal from the race follows the recent departure of another out LGBTQ candidate, former New York City Department of Veterans’ Services commissioner Loree Sutton, and former southern Brooklyn Congressman Max Rose

“While I would have been the first openly gay Latino mayor of New York City, it is my hope that those that look like me or love like me can see a place for themselves in our city government and know one day, one of us will serve as mayor of this great city,” Menchaca said.

More than 40 candidates are still vying for the city’s top seat, including former Sanitation Commission Kathryn Garcia, former Obama appointee Shaun Donovan, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang. 

Menchaca has made development and immigration central issues during his seven-year tenure in Sunset Park. He famously shot down the controversial Industry City rezoning after years of negotiations, and pioneered the IDNYC initiative, which allows all New York City residents to obtain identification cards regardless of immigration status. 

The lawmaker also made headlines for opposing the city’s budget last year in large part because he believed it did not sufficiently reduce NYPD funding. Although Menchaca has less than one year remaining in office, he hinted in his announcement at his plans to fight again for a progressive budget this year.

“My work now continues in the City Council, where I will be fighting for a fair city budget that will rebuild our communities hit hardest by COVID and help to shape a brighter future for the city I love,” he said.

This story first appeared on GayCityNews.com