Top Bill de Blasio Staffers Take Leave for the Campaign Trail

Mayor Bill de Blasio with a  candidate for State Senate in September. (Photo: Ross Barkan)

Mayor Bill de Blasio with a candidate for State Senate in September. (Photo: Ross Barkan)

Two more City Hall staffers are leaving Mayor Bill de Blasio to hit the campaign trail.

Jon Paul Lupo, the director of the Office of City Legislative Affairs, and Jonathan Viguers, a member of the Community Affairs Unit and a former de Blasio campaign aide, recently took temporary leave from City Hall to campaign for two Democrats, sources say.

Mr. Lupo started this week volunteering for Domenic Recchia Jr., the Democrat challenging Republican Congressman Michael Grimm. Mr. Viguers took leave to help Justin Wagner, a Hudson Valley Democrat taking on Republican Terrence Murphy in an open race. Both contests are expected to be extremely close and, for different reasons, are very important to Mr. de Blasio.

Mr. Lupo and Mr. Viguers join Emma Wolfe, Mr. de Blasio’s intergovernmental affairs director and top operative, on the campaign trail. Ms. Wolfe took leave to assist State Senate Democrats in their effort to put Democrats back in the majority.

A spokesman for Mr. de Blasio confirmed to the Observer that Mr. Viguers and Mr. Lupo took leave from City Hall, but declined to say where.

The temporary departures of Mr. Lupo, who aided Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s campaign for speaker a year ago, and Mr. Viguers do not come as a surprise, though they are unprecedented in recent history. Mr. de Blasio, a former campaign operative, is fully engaged in trying to return Democrats to the majority in the State Senate so he can further his own left-leaning agenda, much of which is dependent on a friendly state legislature. Mr. de Blasio’s two predecessors were both Republicans–Michael Bloomberg never sent aides to help Democrats and used much of his own wealth to prop up Senate Republicans, who have served in the majority for much of the last fifty years.

But Mr. de Blasio’s assistance does come with risks, observers say. In Mr. Wagner’s race, where a Republican incumbent is leaving office, outside groups are hammering Mr. Wagner for his ties to New York City Democrats and Mr. de Blasio. Mr. Recchia, a former Brooklyn councilman running in a right-leaning Staten Island and Brooklyn-based district, has also been accused of being too beholden to Mr. de Blasio, an increasingly unpopular figure among conservatives.

“Domenic Recchia voted with Bill de Blasio 99 percent of the time, supporting higher taxes and more tolls,” one ad for Mr. Grimm recently proclaimed. “Now Recchia refuses to stand up to de Blasio’s plan to build government housing in our neighborhoods.”

Top Bill de Blasio Staffers Take Leave for the Campaign Trail