Councilman Bill DeBlasio has abandoned his bid to become the next borough president and will run for public advocate instead — an indication that incumbent Beep, Marty Markowitz, will likely cruise to a third term.
Hours after incumbent Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, a Democrat, announced that she would not take advantage of last week’s change in term limits, DeBlasio said he’d seek that office rather than take on the mighty Markowitz.
“I think I can serve well as the public advocate and defend the rights of the people of the city through that position,” DeBlasio said on Tuesday.
Before Gotbaum’s decision to retire, DeBlasio’s outspoken denunciation of Mayor Bloomberg’s quest to extend term limits from eight to 12 years boxed himself into a tight spot. Once the change in term limits passed over his objections, his political options appeared limited to a safe re-election to the Council — which was a road riddled with the potholes of hypocrisy — or continuing his likely futile quest to knock out Markowitz, one of the city’s most popular pols.
DeBlasio graciously made way for a Marty three-peat.
“Marty Markowitz is popular throughout the borough, he’s done a good job and the people will want him back,” the towering councilman said.
That’s a change from what DeBlasio told The Brooklyn Paper just three weeks ago, when he seemed unfazed by the notion that Markowitz would soon be eligible to run for a third term.
“There is still an election on Sept. 15, 2009, and [I am] running for Brooklyn borough president,” he said then.
The date stays the same, but he’s stepped onto the battlefield for public advocate where he’ll fight with Councilmen Eric Gioia and John Liu, both Queens Democrats, former New York Civil Liberties Union head Norman Siegel and scandal-prone Assemblyman Adam Clayton IV (D–Manhattan).