McGuire Kicks Off NYC Mayoral Campaign in Ad With Spike Lee

Ray McGuire officially debuted his New York mayoral campaign Wednesday, saying in a video narrated by film director Spike Lee that it would be a mistake to bet against the city’s recovery.

McGuire, who left Citigroup Inc. in October after years helping oversee its investment banking division, is seen in the video running through the mostly empty streets of New York as Lee describes the toll the coronavirus pandemic has taken on the metropolis: thousands dead, 1 million unemployed, businesses across the city shuttered.

Lee goes on to say that New York needs a leader who knows hundreds of small-business owners and is willing to “call in every favor” for the city.

“Some folks say New York City is done, but, to paraphrase the great Muhammad Ali, if you ever dream about beating New York City, you better wake up and apologize,” McGuire says in the video.

The video features photos of McGuire with Dick Parsons, former chairman of Citigroup, and Wes Moore, chief executive officer of the anti-poverty philanthropy Robin Hood. The former Wall Street executive says he wants to improve education in the city, pointing to his experience attending Harvard University as what helped lift him out of poverty.

“In the greatest city in the world, every kid deserves what I had: a safe school and a quality education,” McGuire says in the video.

Muta’Ali, Marsalis

The video -- designed for social media only, according to a campaign spokeswoman -- was directed by Muta’Ali, who recently directed an HBO documentary about Yusuf Hawkins, a Black teenager murdered in Brooklyn in 1989. The ad also features music by Wynton Marsalis, managing and artistic director of New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center.

New York’s 2021 mayoral election will start with a primary in June, followed by a general election in November. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s second term ends next year, with term limits preventing him from running again.

The race also includes city Comptroller Scott Stringer, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, former nonprofit executive Dianne Morales and Maya Wiley, once a member of de Blasio’s administration. Adams narrated his first mayoral campaign video, titled “Rise Up,” with a focus on combating police brutality against people of color.

McGuire’s connections to Lee -- who grew up in Brooklyn and whose films include 1989’s “Do the Right Thing” and this year’s “Da 5 Bloods” -- aren’t new: His wife, Crystal McCrary McGuire, wrote a novel with Lee’s wife, Tonya Lewis Lee. “Gotham Diaries,” published in 2004, is set in New York’s affluent Black social circles. Last month, ESPN showed McGuire and Lee celebrating with McGuire’s stepson, Cole Anthony, as he was drafted by the National Basketball Association’s Orlando Magic.

McGuire’s departure from Wall Street this year for his first political campaign leaves the industry with even fewer prominent Black banking executives. The percentage of Black workers inside Citigroup has fallen steadily over the past decade in the U.S., though the bank has pledged to make progress.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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