Dollar Bill is hedging his bets.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who’s been pleading with people to pledge as a little as a buck to support his quixotic bid for the White House, has hired a “lean and mean” presidential campaign team of just five people, because he’s not sure if he’ll be a viable candidate, sources told The Post.
The mayor told NY1’s Errol Louis Monday, “We’re going to start with a lean and mean team and we’re going to build up rapidly.”
On Tuesday, The Post confirmed the first members of de Blasio’s 2020 team include his former City Hall legislative director Jon Paul Lupo, Harvard Kennedy School lecturer Steve Jarding, and direct mail expert Jim Crounse. The trio will be senior advisers.
Michael Giaccio, who worked for former Governor Eliot Spitzer’s 2006 campaign, will serve as finance director.
Finally one of his mayoral spokeswomen, Olivia Lapeyrolerie, will be his traveling press secretary.
But a City Hall source said the team may never get bigger.
“He’s not convinced this is a real campaign yet,” the source said.
“Why would you have a full blown team if you yourself aren’t totally convinced how far this is going to go? It’ll be easier to dissolve a campaign with a bare bones staff if it doesn’t last past July or October,” the source added.
A second former mayoral staffer agreed.
“I’m sure he wants to wait and see how it evolves both the interest in his campaign as well as the fundraising. More people will jump on his campaign if his numbers go up,” the second source said.
Political strategist Bradley Tusk called de Blasio 2020 a joke.
“His lean staffing isn’t a problem,” said Tusk, who ran Michael Bloomberg’s 2009 mayoral campaign.
“If this were a serious bid to win the Presidency, then his current status — team, fundraising, the polls — would be alarming. But for a ten month jaunt around the country to escape the grind of a job he really dislikes, the size or competence of the team doesn’t really matter,” Tusk said.
Lupo, 40 and Lapeyrolerie, 26, had taken leave from their City Hall jobs and were using their vacation days to plan de Blasio’s visits to early primary states before his announcement Thursday. They’ve been working out of an undisclosed location in downtown Brooklyn.
De Blasio 2020 is such a shoestring operation that the Lupo, Lapeyrolerie and at least two other mayoral staffers had to dig into their own pockets for his first out-of-state trip to Iowa and South Carolina last weekend. They’ll eventually be reimbursed from the federal campaign coffers.
A City Hall source said the staffers have about a month’s worth of vacation time to burn– but not a ton of cash.
Lupo, a married Brooklyn dad, is the highest paid city staffer on the campaign team earning about $177,000 a year. Lapeyrolerie, who helped run press operations for Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 campaign, makes close to $68,000.
Colleagues of Lupo describe him as “really smart” and “bright” on both policy and strategy. He was chief of staff to former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, and worked for former Senators Jim Webb of Virginia and Tim Johnson of South Dakota over a decade ago.
The minivan de Blasio rode in for his announcement video belongs to Lupo.
Lupo is accused in a pending federal lawsuit by a former city official of creating a “false narrative” about the mayor’s role in the Rivington House scandal. A mayoral spokesman has denied that claim.