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De Blasio Seeks Head Start, Faces Likely Competition In 2017 Mayoral Race

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The race to the White House is over, but the 2017 campaign for Gracie Mansion is just getting started.

As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, Mayor Bill de Blasio is facing some challenges.

The cheers were loud at an early campaign event for de Blasio, and the mayor's reelection strategy is even louder. He seeks to come out of the box earlier with big endorsements to scare off potential challengers.

De Blasio unveiled a new slogan, "A city for everyone and a city where everyone has a shot."

An endorsement Monday by the sanitation union came less than a week after Donald Trump won the presidential election. Kramer reported de Blasio's early campaigning was clearly intended as psyche-out, and it may not work.

Billionaire John Catsimatidis, who ran in the Republican mayoral primary in 2014, said he is seriously thinking about running again. He said if he does, he will run as a fusion candidate.

"There are a lot of people that are mad at the way things have been going. And like Donald Trump, the people that opened up their windows and they yelled like in the movies, 'We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore!'" Catsimatidis said.

Meanwhile, sources told CSB2 that Kevin Sheekey, who managed Michael Bloomberg's three successful campaigns for mayor, is also thinking about entering the race. He provocatively tweeted a campaign button recently.

Experts said the transition from strategist to candidate would not be that difficult for Sheekey.

"Nobody knew Bill de Blasio. There's no question that Kevin Sheekey could run an effective and very smart campaign. He understands targeting. He understands how this stuff works, and the consultants wouldn't be able to bamboozle him," said political strategist Hank Sheinkopf.

All this comes as the group New York Deserves Better goes on seeking an alternative to de Blasio. The group began an internet company attacking the mayor for spending $5.4 million in taxpayer dollars on legal fees to defend himself from various criminal investigations.

"Now, he's taking taxpayer money, and instead of spending it on teachers, or police officers, or ACS caseworkers, he's spending it on his own lawyer," said Bradley Tusk, political strategist for New York Deserves Better.

There is a lot of time for other candidates to get into the race. The filing deadline is not until next June.

Other people said to be thinking about running for mayor include Brooklyn U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., city Comptroller Scott Stringer, and Queens City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-32nd).

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