Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, was fed up. An ad for her husband’s political opponent was running on her favorite radio station, and she wanted the de Blasio campaign to respond.
“How much money do I have to raise this week to deal with this affront?” she wrote in a blunt email to her husband’s top aides in 2009, mischievously warning that if the ad interrupted a cherished R & B show, “I might get road rage.”
Such interventions from Ms. McCray were not unusual: Mr. de Blasio urged his political team to heed her words. In an email of his own, he shared his wife’s suggestions for how best to disseminate a campaign brochure in the race for public advocate that featured the diverse de Blasio family. (One idea: “Give it out at beauty salons.”)
The email’s subject line was telling: “This is the word of Chirlane.”
Publicly, Mr. de Blasio remains vague about the kind of role Ms. McCray, a 59-year-old poet and writer, will occupy in his administration. But dozens of conversations with aides, a review of previously undisclosed emails and an interview with the couple suggest there is little precedent in New York for the intense day-to-day political partnership that the mayor-elect and his wife intend to bring to City Hall on Jan. 1.
Together, the pair map out political strategy, court endorsements, deliberate policy, recruit staff and write speeches, insisting on a degree of equality and collaboration that is rarely found between elected officials and their spouses.