Restaurateur Leo Molloy drops out of Auckland mayoral race


Leading Auckland mayoral candidate Leo Molloy has confirmed he is dropping out of the race.

“It’s the right thing to do for the city,” he said in a surprise statement on Friday.

Molloy gave no immediate reason for his sudden decision, but it came as a new poll was about to emerge in which he slipped from second to third in the race.

“Some aspects of my polling are still strong, however there are clear trends emerging that suggest I cannot win – this time,” he said in a statement.

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The full details of the Curia poll for the Auckland Ratepayers Alliance have not yet been released, but Stuff has seen an excerpt.

Leo Molloy says he’s pulling out of the mayoral race.

RICKY WILSON/Stuff

Leo Molloy says he’s pulling out of the mayoral race.

The poll showed 45% of those asked were still undecided.

Once the undecided were stripped out, support went to Efeso Collins at 22.3%, Wayne Brown 18.6%, Leo Molloy 14.5% Viv Beck 12.5%, Craig Lord 7.2, Ted Johnston 6.4% and Gary Brown 6.2%.

Molloy has run one of the biggest campaigns in the race, but a week ago parted company with his media manager and the contractors producing his social media, in what was called a “refocussing”.

Molloy said he wished the remain candidates the best for the weeks ahead.

“Cowboys don’t cry. I’m getting on with my other life as a hospo legend,” he said.

“I have a new restaurant/bar to design and build and I’m looking forward to concentrating on that project.”

Collins said on Friday he was “focussed on the mayoralty, but I wish Leo well and have appreciated the passion and energy he has brought to the race”.

Lord said Molloy dropping out was “good timing” for Auckland.

Having too many centre-right candidates fighting for the same vote is not smart … this now gives voters someone to turn to.”

Johnston said he sent Molloy his condolences.

“He was entertaining and a character but now we should be able to focus on some of the other candidates. It’s a wide open race.”

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