New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to headline Progress Iowa fundraiser

CEDAR RAPIDS ? New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will return to Iowa for Progress Iowa?s fifth annual Holiday Party Dec. 19.

De Blasio, who was elected mayor of New York in 2013, will focus his remarks on the future of the progressive movement and efforts to resist the conservative agenda being enacted across the country. In addition, Senate Democratic Leader Janet Petersen and House Democratic Leader Mark Smith will speak at the liberal-leaning advocacy group?s annual event.

The announcement quickly fueled speculation that de Blasio is contemplating a presidential bid. He has visited Iowa, host of the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses, in the past in support of other candidates, but now, according to Politico, has abandoned Clinton-style politics in favor of a platform more akin to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders ? a previous Progress Iowa Holiday Party speaker.

?I have been very open about the fact that I wish the national party had actually run on that platform,? de Blasio told Politico.

?If the party does not bring the progressive wing in more fully, then it?s at the party?s peril. I think there was a huge mistake made in 2016 to not invite in the Bernie Sanders movement more effectively.?

Progress Iowa, which claims a network of 70,000 progressives, advocates for a stronger middle class, first-class public education and fairness for all Iowans under the law.

?We are thrilled to welcome Mayor de Blasio back to Iowa,? said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa. ?His progressive leadership and passion for common sense solutions provides a model for the entire country, and we look forward to hearing his thoughts on the future of our movement to ensure working families get a fair shot at success.?

De Blasio, 56, has sought to tamp down talk of a presidential bid by committing to completing his second four-year term as mayor. He was re-elected earlier this month.

In a 2015 visit to Des Moines, de Blasio talked about his Iowa heritage. His grandmother was born in 1888 in Blanchard on the Iowa-Missouri border and his great-grandfather was mayor there.

The Dec. 19 party is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Temple for Performing Arts, 1011 Locust St., Des Moines. Tickets are $50 each and available at