Hundreds of supports packed the steps on a cold St. Patrick’s Day afternoon with chants of “Mayor Liu, Mayor Liu” echoing from above his podium. There were hundreds more standing outside the gates along Park Row, unable to make it through a security check in time for the celebration.
His wife Jenny and son Joey joined Liu as they squeezed through the crowd. Liu stressed his Taiwanese background, as well as the integral role he said the city school system played in his success.
“I, as a son of immigrants, a product of public schools who left the private sector for public service, announce that I am running to be mayor of our great city of New York,” Liu told supporters. “Because this city used to make a promise with us, that every single New Yorker can have the opportunity to succeed, I’m going to make damn sure that promise is fulfilled.”
Since he took over as city comptroller in 2009, Liu has successfully audited the Metropolitan Transit Authority, the CityTime Project, and the 911 call system, as well as produced more than $3 billion in cost savings for the city.
In response to recent fraud allegations over campaign funds, Liu said, “When you go after powerful people and rich corporations, they’re going to come for you. They have certainly made my life difficult.”
Liu’s former campaign treasurer Jia Hou and top fundraiser Xing Wu Pan were arrested after allegedly assisting in pipelining campaign money to Liu’s mayoral candidacy and ignoring campaign contribution limits.
“Let me be clear, we are not backing down,” Liu said.
As Liu is nearing his campaign-spending limit, reportedly receiving $3,229,794 from 5,192 donors since November 2010, he currently reported having $2,039,217 in cash on hand.
On his 14-hour campaign bus tour of the city on Sunday, Liu started off the morning with church services at the Bedford Central Presbyterian Church at 1200 Dean St. and the nearby Concord Baptist Church of Christ on Gardner Taylor Boulevard in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
He stopped in at WBLS 107.5 FM Radio and Solleil 97.5 FM, as well as coffee shops in Brighton Beach, the Bronx and Washington Heights before ending his night at the Bukharian Jewish Community Center in Forest Hills for a dinner banquet.
“As mayor, I will do what I have always done as a council member and comptroller, and stand up to every powerful person or entrenched interest who’s standing in the way of what’s right,” he said at City Hall. “That’s called leadership.”
Liu now joins the Democratic Primary race with former Councilman Sal Albanese, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Speaker Christine Quinn and former Comptroller Bill Thompson.
His possible Republican opponents include New York businessman John Catsimatidis, former Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman Joseph Lhota, and George McDonald, head of The Doe Fund charity.