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Queens Chronicle

John Liu, the NYC comptroller, to make campaign announcement

Known to be running for mayor of New York City, though he hasn't explicitly said so

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Posted: Friday, March 15, 2013 1:25 pm | Updated: 1:22 pm, Mon Mar 18, 2013.

City Comptroller John Liu on Friday made the announcement of an announcement for his 2013 campaign — with every indication being that he'll throw his hat into the race for mayor.

Liu is known to be running for the city's highest office but has declined so far to say so explicitly. He's been saying things to the press that amount to, "You know what will happen but I'm not saying so now because the timing of these things matters."

In a press advisory issued Friday at 12:30 p.m. under the header "John Liu NYC 2013," his campaign said, "Long-awaited and much-anticipated ... Join friends and fellow supporters as John makes a very special announcement to officially launch this year's campaign."

The announcement will be made Sunday on the steps of City Hall.

Neither the advisory nor Liu's campaign site say what office he's seeking. But he has ruled out running for comptroller again, and anyone with knowledge of city politics knows he's running for mayor.

The press advisory also included an inspirational quote, without saying who said it:

"Because that’s the sacred promise New York City made with us. Come here. Work hard. Dream big. And then work even harder. And if you do all that, you have the opportunity to make good."

Liu won the office of comptroller in the last citywide elections, in 2009. During his time in office he has emphasized his audits of city agencies geared toward improving efficiency and accountability to the public, and touts getting a better rate of return on pension fund investments than many other municipalities. 

He has also issued regular statements on policy questions, frequently criticizing Mayor Bloomberg's positions and offering an alternative approach. He says he would, for example, spend far less on consultants than the city does now, to save money that could be used for providing services. He often cites the CityTime payroll scandal, in which an outside contractor took in at least $500 million in public funds it wasn't entitled to through fraud, as a prime example of the Bloomberg administration's failings.

Prior to becoming comptroller, Liu served as city councilman for the 20th District, representing the Flushing area. Supporters have long touted him as the best candidate to be the city's first mayor of Asian descent.

But he has been dogged over the last year by a campaign finance scandal involving his team's former treasurer, Jia "Jenny" Hou, and Xing Wu "Oliver" Pan, one of his top fundraisers. Both are under federal indictment for an alleged scheme using straw donors to evade campaign contribution limits.

Liu denies all knowledge of any wrongdoing and recently challenged prosecutors to "put up or shut up" when it comes to the Hou-Wu trial, which reportedly was set to begin in February but has been pushed back to April.

Media outlets quoted him as saying during a March 1 mayoral candidates' event in Harlem:

"There are still whispers about this cloud hanging over my head. ... It's time to put up or shut up already, because I've got an election to win."

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan), widely believed to be the frontrunner in the race for mayor, formally announced her candidacy March 10. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former Councilman Sal Albanese, both of Brooklyn, are also running for the Democratic nomination.

On the Republican side, the likely or definite candidates are former MTA chairman and deputy mayor Joe Lhota, businessman John Catsimatidis, community media mogul Tom Allon, former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion and nonprofit chief George McDonald.

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