Real estate mogul Don Peebles considering challenging de Blasio in next mayoral campaign

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Dave Evans has the story. (WABC)

A man listed in Forbes Magazine as one of the nation's wealthiest African-Americans says he is seriously considering running for mayor.

Real estate mogul Don Peebles, who supported Bill de Blasio in the last mayoral race, now could challenge him.

We've heard rumors for months that the City Comptroller, the Public Advocate, the Brooklyn Borough President, all might challenge the mayor in a primary in 2017.

That's awfully difficult for a Democrat who doesn't have a lot of money. As the incumbent it's assumed de Blasio will have the party establishment and union support.

But this news may be a whole different ballgame.

Rich, smart, and a Democrat, Peebles once backed de Blasio and even donated to his campaign. He thought de Blasio would be a transformative figure, someone who would dramatically change the city.

Instead, disappointment. "I think we all thought we'd see that in Bill de Blasio, and we haven't seen it," said Peebles. "Our quality of life is down, the vast majority of New Yorkers feel the city is going in the wrong direction."

Peebles, like many New Yorkers, is dissatisfied with our schools. He's worried about police and an uptick in shootings and murders earlier this summer. But what de Blasio said about police and his son Dante after the Eric Garner grand jury decision infuriated Peebles.

"The mayor of the city does not stand up at a press conference on national TV and criticize the very police department that he runs," said Peebles.

Peebles could run for mayor in two years and pay for it himself. He's worth about $700 million. And he would run as a Democrat, against de Blasio. "I like Bill de Blasio, he's a likable person. I considered him a friend, I still do. He and I just disagree on the direction we're taking the city," said Peebles.

"Interesting way to be a friend," said the mayor, who didn't seem worried at all about a possible rich opponent in two years as he broke ground Thursday on a new 154 unit apartment building for low-income seniors. "I'm going to run on the issues and anyone who wants to run against me, God bless 'em and I'd like to see what they want to put up in comparison that in terms of record and achievement for the people of this city, so come one, come all," said de Blasio.

De Blasio's biggest support in all the polling comes from black New Yorkers.

But Peebles could change that since he's African-American, much like Hillary Clinton had the black vote in 2008 until someone named Barack Obama came along.

Peebles' decision will come in the next year. He's leaning towards running, saying City Hall has got to change. "So what's happened is there's a crisis of confidence in the mayor's leadership. What we see is that people don't believe the mayor is qualified to lead the city."
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politicsnew york city politicsbill de blasiocampaignelectionNew York City
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