A Missouri teenager stole the spotlight from Bill de Blasio’s presidential campaign announcement Wednesday when he scooped the New York City mayor's announcement.
Gabe Fleisher, 17, is a high school student in St. Louis. Before heading to class every morning, Fleisher sends out his newsletter “Wake Up to Politics,” a rundown of political happenings that often includes campaign schedules and what the 2020 candidates are up to.
Fleisher, a junior, had just finished an hourslong AP English exam when he checked a website that automatically populates each time a candidate or state party announces a new event. Scrolling through the site, one Facebook event by the Woodbury County Democratic Party in Iowa caught his eye: a Friday event for de Blasio in Sioux City that was billed as “his first stop on his Presidential announcement tour.”
But de Blasio had not yet officially thrown his hat in the ring.
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Shortly after Fleisher tweeted this news, the de Blasio campaign confirmed the mayor was indeed running. Reports had hinted at a de Blasio run for the past few weeks, but Fleisher’s find was seemingly the official confirmation. The mayor had planned to make the formal announcement on ABC News’ “Good Morning America” the next day.
"It was very exciting," Fleisher told NBC News on Thursday morning before school.
Fleisher is certainly young, but he isn’t new to the world of writing about politics. He’s been writing his newsletter since 2011, his mom being the first subscriber. Now, 50,000 wake up to it Monday through Friday.
“My goal each day is to break down what’s going on in politics, give people a place they can go, and always try to do it in a nonpartisan way,” he said.
He covered the 2012 election and in 2016 he got to go to Iowa to do some coverage of the caucuses. This year, he’s hoping he’ll get to interview candidates.
Right now, Fleisher doesn’t make any money from the newsletter.
“I don't have ads, it’s something I've thought about, but I like that it’s organic,” he said. He said some readers will send him donations, which cover his Mailchimp expenses.
Juggling high school and the newsletter isn’t always the easiest, but Fleisher said he takes a break in the summer. “I’m a summer camp counselor in Minnesota,” he said. “I try to unplug and get out of the news cycle.”
Fleisher said he isn’t sure how de Blasio will perform in the primary.
“There doesn’t seem to be much energy behind the bid in New York City or elsewhere,” he said, adding “it’s a large field, so it’s hard to know what happens.”
When asked how his AP test went, Fleisher said, "I think I did well," pausing to add, "I hope."