In a statement, Johnson said: "I felt strongly that it was the right thing to do considering all that our city has been going through, including COVID-19, the resulting shutdown and economic pain, and the long-overdue national reckoning on race. This challenging time has led me to rethink how I can best be of service to this city, and I have come to the conclusion that this is not the right path for me."
Johnson also said that he had been battling depression for several months, an admission with the same transparency as when he has discussed his sobriety, HIV status, and sexual orientation.
"I think there are two reasons that people might be stunned," said political analyst and Rutgers University professor Basil Smikle. "First, there's been a long line of City Council Speakers that have run for Mayor.... but also, Corey's brought a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm to the job."
Johnson, who represents Hell's Kitchen, Chelsea, the West Village, and parts of the Upper West Side, was regarded as a leading contender before COVID-19 hit the city. With him out of the race, now many observers see it as a two-man heat between Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer.
However, Smikle believes the result of the Presidential election could influence who New York City voters will decide on.
"I think voters haven't taken as hard a look at this race as they may have in other years, and they won't until we have a winner in the White House," Smikle said.
Even though he is no longer seeking to be Mayor, Johnson said he will continue to work for New Yorkers.
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