Corey Johnson Ends 2021 Bid for NYC Mayor

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday September 24, 2020

Corey Johnson, left, with Kamala Harris, right.
Corey Johnson, left, with Kamala Harris, right.  (Source:Instagram / @coreyjohnsonnyc)

Corey Johnson, New York City Council speaker and contender in the city's mayoral race, withdrew on Thursday from his bid to replace Bill de Blasio next year, The New York Times reports.

Questioning whether or not to terminate his candidacy, Johnson explained that he had been suffering from depression, especially since the start of the pandemic. The pressures of being in isolation, the pandemic's impact on the city, and the city's unrest in the wake of the George Floyd murder took a toll:

"We were going through a period of confronting generations of systemic racism. The city was going through a period of unrest. I had to focus on that. I wasn't fully able to even focus on myself... To do that job and run for mayor at the same time while dealing with depression just seemed like it was too much for me."

Explaining that he hadn't felt such depression since "I was a teenager," Johnson became more sure about discontinuing his run after visiting his mother in Massachusetts in mid-August.

As a public figure, Johnson is an out gay man who openly discusses being HIV-positive, his sobriety, and his relationship. In office, Johnson advocated for defunding the police, and became a champion for that particular cause until it became clear that such budget cuts would not be possible due to the divided City Council. And last year, when de Blasio was busy making a failed bid to become the Democratic candidate for President, Johnson attempted to steer Manhattan through a power outage that impacted the West Side.

While term-limits prevent Johnson from a third term on City Council, he plans to continue public service by other avenues — one possibility being a future run for Congress.

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.

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