Note: We originally posted this item on Aug. 14. We are resurfacing it now since it's Election Day in New York City, and de Blasio is the Democratic front-runner for mayor.
New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has climbed to the top of the latest poll in the city's turbulent campaign for the Democratic mayoral nomination. With less than a month to go before the primary, he leads the pack with 30 percent support, the most recent Quinnipiac University survey shows.
"A few weeks ago, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio looked like an also-ran. Today, he's the leader of the pack, and a winner in the runoffs. Follow the bouncing ball, folks. This line-up keeps changing," said Quinnipiac polling director Maurice Carroll.
So, just who is de Blasio? Below are the five biggest things to know about him:
1. He's running as the most liberal major candidate in the field. De Blasio, a former member of the City Council, is positioning himself to the left of the rest of the field. He's pulling a 40 percent plurality of voters who describe themselves as "very liberal" in the Quinnipiac poll, sports an endorsement from the left-leaning magazine The Nation, and has supported oversight measures for the city's "stop and frisk" law that a judge ruled unconstitutional this week. (He has made "stop and frisk" a central focus of his campaign.) The collapse of liberal candidate Anthony Weiner has appeared to boost de Blasio's support on the left.
2. De Blasio managed Hillary Clinton's 2000 Senate campaign. De Blasio was Clinton's campaign manager during her first bid for the upper chamber. Know who else worked on the campaign? Howard Wolfson, now a top aide to Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I). As public advocate, the position to which he was elected in 2009, de Blasio's role is to be a city government watchdog of sorts. And that's meant that he hasn't been shy about criticizing Bloomberg's policies. "Bill is a friend," Wolfson told National Journal. "But he has set forth a vision for the city that is very explicit — higher taxes, bigger government, more regulation, more mandates on business, and in my opinion we tried that model and it failed."
3. He changed his name. De Blasio was born Warren Wilhelm. His father fought in World War II and his parents split up early in his life. De Blasio said his dad was in a "downward spiral" when he returned to the U.S., and he was raised by his mother's family, leading him to adopt their last name. "I started by putting the name into my diploma. Then, I hyphenated it legally when I finished NYU. And then more and more, I realized that was the right identity," de Blasio told Public Radio Exchange. What about Warren? De Blasio said he's always been called "Bill."
5. His family has gotten a lot of attention. He doesn't reveal his identity until the end but de Blasio's teenage son is the sole speaker in his first campaign commercial. De Blasio is married to Chirlane McCray, who is African American. They have two children together. McCray's 1979 essay "I Am a Lesbian" has received a lot of attention in the campaign. McCray told Essence magazine earlier this year that she was able to go from coming out as a lesbian to falling in love with de Blasio by "putting aside the assumptions I had about the form and package my love would come in. By letting myself be as free as I felt when I went natural."