Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of Brooklyn has made it official — he is not running for mayor.
The young congressman, who is considered a rising star in the Democratic Party, had stoked speculation that he might challenge a fellow Brooklyn Democrat, Mayor Bill de Blasio, who Jeffries has pointedly criticized on several key issues.
But Jeffries had done little to build the groundwork for a run, which seemed increasingly unlikely after he won a leadership position in the House Democratic conference last year.
“Over the last two years, many individuals throughout our great city who I respect have urged me to consider a run for Mayor,” Jeffries said in a statement. “While humbled by the prospect, this is a moment where House Democrats must focus on resisting the cruel and unusual policies emanating from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.”
Jeffries had been particularly critical of de Blasio on policing issues, and the case for Jeffries’ candidacy was built in part on the idea that he could cut into the mayor’s base among black voters, while also raising the kind of money necessary to compete citywide.
But Jeffries said in his statement that he wanted to focus on his future in Washington.
“As a new member of the House leadership team, I look forward to being part of the effort to win back the majority and advance a progressive agenda for our country,” he said. “For that reason, I will not be a candidate for Mayor of New York City in 2017.”
Jeffries did not offer his backing to de Blasio, or any other candidate, in the statement.
The congressman was one of several top-tier Democrats who flirted with a mayoral race, but ultimately declined to run, including City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.
De Blasio is facing a handful of challengers in the September primary, but none are current office-holders, and each has struggled to compete with the mayor’s fundraising.