De Blasio hopes for 'viral moment' to save campaign

NEW YORK (AP) - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who failed to qualify for the September Democratic debate, said Wednesday that he may end his long-shot campaign for the presidential nomination if he doesn't qualify for the October debates.

De Blasio said it's "really tough to conceive of continuing" in the race if he fails to make the October debate stage. The criteria are the same as for the Sept. 12 debate in Houston: 130,000 campaign donors and a 2% showing in four national polls or statewide polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada by Oct. 1.

It was the first time de Blasio appeared to give himself a deadline for dropping out of the race he joined in May.

Four candidates including de Blasio's fellow New Yorker Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand dropped out of the race last month when it became clear that they would not qualify for the September debate, but de Blasio has suggested that a viral moment may win him a surge of support.

"People go from unheard of to totally famous in 72 hours in America now," he said Wednesday. "So a candidate like me who's not that well known yet, you ask me in 72 hours, right? And something might change."

De Blasio said that if he qualifies for the October debates "that's a good reason to keep going forward."

De Blasio, who is in his second term, said he is not neglecting his duties as mayor as he campaigns around the country.

"This is a job that requires energy and attention every hour of every day and that's what I do," de Blasio said. "There's countless phone calls, countless emails, checking in on all different leaders of different agencies and folks in City Hall. And that is why you continue to see a host of initiatives moving forward. It's the nature of the job as a CEO that you're responsible for making sure that everything is moving. And everything is moving. That's just the reality."


This story has been corrected to show that the September debate will take place in Houston, not New York.