In an interview last night, Eva Moskowitz, the founder of Success Academy Charter Schools and a former city councilwoman, would not rule out a future primary bid against Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“It’s possible. I have always been very open about my respect for public service. My hope is though that we can really move this city forward,” Ms. Moskowitz said on NY1’s Inside City Hall in a response to a question about her rumored mayoral ambitions.
“I grew up in New York in the 1970s and I remember what it was like when governmental services did not work very, very well and I’m hoping we can keep the forward movement that we have seen in the city,” she added.
“If the forward movement doesn’t happen to your satisfaction, would we see a Eva Moskowitz in a candidacy as early as 2017?” host Errol Louis asked.
“Anything’s possible,” Ms. Moskowitz answered. “I love kids, I love what I’m doing, it’s incredibly hard. I love working with teachers and principals, they are my heroes. They are very dedicated to children and it’s very impactful.”
There is no love lost between Mr. de Blasio and Ms. Moskowitz. Bitter rivals from their days as City Council colleagues, the two squared off again this year when Mr. de Blasio initially pulled the plug on three of her charter schools. Ms. Moskowitz slammed Mr. de Blasio in the media and eventually, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s help, secured space for her own schools and sweeping new protections for charter schools in the city.
Though he has since tempered his rhetoric, Mr. de Blasio was often hostile toward charter school expansion and Ms. Moskowitz when he served as public advocate and ran for mayor. Mr. de Blasio bristled at the idea of letting charter schools have rent-free space in public schools, declaring at a mayoral forum last year that “there was no way in hell Eva Moskowitz should get free rent.”
Ms. Moskowitz, a Democrat like Mr. de Blasio, could be a formidable candidate if she chose to run. She has access to the wealthy donors who help buoy her charter network and enjoys relatively strong name recognition among primary voters. More moderate Democrats who passed on Mr. de Blasio in 2013 could find a candidate to unite around in 2017.
Still, a Moskowitz candidacy would face significant hurdles. Knocking off an incumbent mayor is exceedingly difficult. Labor unions and left-leaning community groups hostile to Ms. Moskowitz–the types of organizations that specialize in pulling out the vote for low turnout primaries–would rush to Mr. de Blasio’s defense. Ms. Moskowitz failed to win a Manhattan borough president’s race in 2005–Mr. de Blasio, to date, has never lost an election.
A spokesman for Mr. de Blasio did not immediately return a request for comment.