Bill de Blasio
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio Reuters

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is maneuvering to run for president in 2016 and will use his progressive credentials to derail former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s expected bid, predicts the chairman of the Republican Party in New York. Ed Cox, the state GOP chairman, also said de Blasio’s plan will be successful, according to the New York Post.

“It’s like Barack Obama; he was a brand-new freshman senator, and he ran for president and won. I think de Blasio is going to do it,” Cox said at a recent meeting, according to a source who spoke to the Post. The New York GOP chairman, who is Richard Nixon's son-in-law, said a “Democratic lobbyist” told him that de Blasio’s posturing as a progressive leader is part of his plan to run for president in 2016.

De Blasio has been a major critic of the New York police force’s stop-and-frisk policy, which is widely seen as racial profiling. His stance has boosted his approval rating among minorities. Sixty-five percent of blacks and 55 percent of Hispanics approved of his job as mayor in an August poll, while only 36 percent of whites gave de Blasio a thumbs-up. The mayor's wife, Chirlaine McCray, is black.

“New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio gets positive marks on honesty, empathy and leadership. He's only so-so on most issues, except for a big plus on race relations," Maurice Carroll, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in a statement. "He's had his ups and his downs over the summer, but there's almost no change in his job approval. White voters are negative; black voters are overwhelmingly positive."

The mayor also raised the minimum wage for fast-food workers and some workers of development projects that receive city subsidies, and announced earlier this month that the city would decriminalize marijuana.

At 30 percent, more New Yorkers said it would be good for the city if de Blasio is seen as a national spokesman on liberal issues than the 17 percent who said it would be bad for the city, according to a Sept. 2 Quinnipiac poll. A plurality -- 46 percent -- said it wouldn’t make a difference for the city. But most New Yorkers -- 44 percent -- said it would be good for the mayor’s political career to be a national spokesman on liberal issues, while 12 percent said it would be bad for his career and 37 percent said it wouldn’t make a difference.

The mayor’s close ties to the Rev. Al Sharpton, the national civil rights leader and political activist who is connected to the Obama White House, was one of the reasons Cox listed for a de Blasio presidential campaign in 2016.

“Cox has been pointing out that Sharpton is back and forth to the White House and serves as an emissary for de Blasio,’’ the source told the Post.

Cox said de Blasio has a shot at the Democratic nomination because he represents the liberal wing of the party while Clinton is more centrist.

“The national Democratic Party is going hard left. It’s Obama’s party, and that’s why [Massachusetts Sen.] Elizabeth Warren gets them excited,’’ the party chairman said, according to the Post. “But Hillary voted for the Iraq war and then doubled down by saying we should have gotten more involved in Syria and talked about businesses not creating jobs. She’s trying to ride in as a moderate when the party’s gone hard left.”