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CNN's Zucker hints at New York City mayoral run in 2021: 'I always like a challenge'

CNN's Zucker hints at New York City mayoral run in 2021: 'I always like a challenge'
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CNN President Jeff Zucker hinted at a possible run for New York City mayor in 2021, telling New York Times media columnist Ben Smith that the city is going to need "a very strong mayor in the aftermath" of the coronavirus crisis.

"I always like a challenge," Zucker added in the interview with Smith.

Speculation has existed for years that Zucker may jump from media to politics , with the former NBCUniversal president telling Smith in 2015 he would consider running for elected office at some point.

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Smith wrote that Zucker paused when asked if he was considering running next year for mayor. Current New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioCitigroup executive to run for NYC mayor: report Treasury withheld nearly M from FDNY 9/11 health program New York theaters display banners urging governor to reopen cinemas MORE is term-limited. 

Zucker then said he "didn't want his answer to cause a storm of news."

“New York City is going to need a very strong mayor in the aftermath of this, and I always like a challenge," he said.

Zucker began his media career as a researcher for NBC Sports in 1986 before rising through the ranks quickly on the news side to become the executive producer of the "Today" show when he was 26.

In June 2018, he renewed his contract with CNN through the 2020 election.

The Harvard graduate has battled health issues in the past, most notably after being diagnosed with colon cancer when he was 31.

Three years after that diagnosis and undergoing treatment, the cancer returned, prompting surgery. He is now cancer-free.

"I would never say that [beating cancer] made me feel invincible — but it's prepared me for almost anything," he told Business Insider in 2013.