Green Says He’s Not Interested in Running for Mayor; De Blasio Attacks, Gioia Doesn’t

Mark Green, the former public advocate who ran for mayor in 2001, said he does not want to run for mayor again.

Green said that during the first televised debate in the public advocate’s race, hosted by WABC-TV.

Green is hovering at the 40 percent in the polls –enough to win the Democratic primary without a run-off. To prevent that, Bill de Blasio has decided to attack him directly, and make it (appear at least) like a two-person race.

De Blasio attacked Green for working for his brother’s real estate company, and for agreeing in 2001 to allow outgoing mayor Rudy Giuliani to stay in office after his term expired, in order to deal with the impact of the September 11th terrorist attacks.

“Diane, let Bill attack me one more time because he needs it emotionally,” Green told the moderator, Diana Williams.

The fact that Green acknowledged de Blasio arguably benefits de Blasio, who, despite small gains in the most recent public opinion polls, trails Green by more than 20 points. The conventional wisdom is that if Green can be forced into a run-off, his high name recognition can be overcome by a strong Get Out the Vote Operation, like the kind run by labor unions, which have mostly backed de Blasio.

The risk in de Blasio’s strategy is that it’ll leave him, and Green, looking like bickering, mud-slinging pols, and someone like Eric Gioia – who is in last place, despite hitting the airwaves first – can position himself as a fresh, positive alternative.

After referencing, not for the first time that he grew up in Queens, Gioia said politicians have made politics look like “professional wrestling. They yell, they scream at each other. They did everything but hit each other with chairs.”

“The night is still young, so who knows,” Gioia said. Gioia's good-guy routine prompted one rival aide to suggest out loud that Gioia was simply running to boost his name recognition for a more serious race for another office next year.

Norman Siegel stuck to his usual script and said the most important thing was to defend civil liberties. It's a subject on which he's got some credibilty.