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Queens Chronicle

John Liu declares mayoral candidacy

Populist tone at Comptroller, former Flushing lawmaker’s campaign start

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Posted: Thursday, March 21, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:28 am, Thu Mar 28, 2013.

Comptroller John Liu announced his candidacy for mayor on Sunday, surprising few after nearly a year of flirting with a run.

The former Flushing councilman formally kicked off his campaign with a populist tone at a rally on the steps of City Hall, an event reportedly so rife with supporters Liu had to hold a second rally in City Hall Park. The event included a stop into Flushing as well.

“In New York these last 12 years, the rich keep getting filthy rich while far too many New Yorkers can’t even think to get ahead, because they’re just trying to get by,” Liu said. “The simple fact is that a guy working on a Wall Street trading desk has a far greater shot of climbing into the 1 percent, than a hardworking single mother has to climb above the poverty line.”

Liu is joining an already crowded field in the Democratic mayoral primary, running against Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan), Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former Comptroller Bill Thompson, who have all formally declared their candidacy.

The campaign kicked off as two of Liu’s campaign staffers, including his former treasurer, are scheduled to stand trial on fraud charges on April 15. The case has become a sticking point for Liu, who consistently has denied any connection to the alleged wrongdoing.

At a recent candidate’s forum, a combative Liu demanded federal prosecutors “put up or shut up.”

During a recent visit to the Chronicle’s offices, Liu said the trial could only help detach his mayoral run from the fraud charges, which include allegations of straw donors used to circumvent contribution limits.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he said during the sitdown. “I think the more information that comes out, the better it is for me, my campaign and for the public.”

Liu has raised $3,299,794, falling about $13,000 short of the matching funds spending limit, according to his campaign. He has just over $2 million in cash on hand for his run.

— Joseph Orovic

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