Everyone still hates Bill — and he’s not even running anymore.
Six former rivals took shots at former Mayor Bill de Blasio during a televised debate Wednesday night ahead of the Aug. 23 Democratic primary for the newly-drawn Congressional District 10 straddling lower Manhattan and brownstone Brooklyn.
“Have you sought or accepted an endorsement from from former Mayor Bill de Blasio?” moderator Brigid Bergin, of Gothamist, asked Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou.
“I have not sought it,” she answered.
Rep. Mondaire Jones simply said, “I am not interested in that.”
“I haven’t sought it either – but I wish him the best,” former Rep. Liz Holtzman, 80, said at the debate hosted by NY1 and WNYC.
Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, Assemblywoman JoAnn Simon and former House Democratic impeachment counsel Dan Goldman all concurred that they had no interest in or would not accept the endorsement of the wildly unpopular former mayor, who lives in the heart of the Park Slope portion of the district.
Hating on de Blasio – who ditched his own bid for the seat amid dismal poll numbers weeks ago – was one of many areas of agreement among the six leading candidates in the crowded race.
The largely left-leaning bunch echoed each other on hot issues like congestion pricing, bail reform, fixing the BQE and the federal raid on the Florida home of former President Donald Trump.
“I do generally support congestion pricing,” Goldman said when asked what exemptions he might support to the controversial plan to charge drivers entering Manhattan below 60th Street to raise money for MTA repairs.
“In terms of my personal policy preference – it is for congestion pricing,” Jones added.
“I was an early supporter of congestion pricing many years ago even before Mayor Bloomberg first proposed it,” Simon bragged.
All the candidates – except Niou and Holtzman – suggested they would support President Biden if he runs for reelection in 2024 and Nancy Pelosi for another term as speaker.
Goldman and Holtzman also stuck out as the lone participant open to changing state bail laws blamed by Republicans and some Democrats for fueling rising crime.
“I am probably the only immigrant here on this panel,” Niou said while trying to stick out among her rivals’ refugee-friendly stance on the ongoing clash between Mayor Eric Adams and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who has bused migrants from the border to New York City in recent days.
Rivera claimed her outspoken support for the East Side Coastal Resiliency Program demonstrated how she could bring something different to Washington on behalf of the district.
“These will be tough decisions and you need someone who’s able to take bold stances,” she said.
Recent polling has suggested that Niou, Rivera and Goldman make up the top-tier of candidates in the crowded race, which also includes more than a half-dozen lesser-known names who failed to raise at least $500,000 in order to qualify for the debate.
Goldman attracted the lion’s share of criticism from others Wednesday night, with Jones and Simon bashing the Levi Strauss heir over reported investments in Fox News and the gun manufacturer Ruger.
“I was in a blind trust with all my money when I was a prosecutor,” Goldman claimed without clarifying the extent of personal involvement in his investments since leaving his former House post.
Goldman took two jabs at Jones by calling him the “gentleman from Rockland” while alluding to the current suburban district he ditched to run for the open city congressional seat.
“Mr. Goldman seems to think Donald Trump is the cause of all our problems,” Jones counterattacked at one point, noting his opponents frequent reminders about being a House impeachment prosecutor.
Jones also claimed during the debate that his mere weeks-long residency in the Carroll Gardens portion of the district gave him insights into how best to overhaul the crumbling BQE along the Brooklyn waterfront.
“There are other communities in Red Hook and Sunset Park that also need to see their environmental justice concerns corrected or excuse me addressed as well. And that’s something that requires community input in the area. I say this as a Carroll Gardens resident,” Jones said.
That was hardly the only time that candidates appeared to exaggerate just how their experience stuck out any more than their policy stances compared to their opponents.
Niou, 39, who grew up in Texas and attended college in Washington State, said, “Twenty-two years working on the state level has really given me a lot of legislative experience.”
“I’m a lifelong public servant,” Goldman, a former MSNBC talking head, insisted.