SIOUX CITY, Iowa (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is apparently telling Democrats in Iowa that he has not ruled out a run for president.

The Sioux City Journal reports that de Blasio told voters at a Sioux City bar on Saturday that the Democratic Party must return to its progressive roots.

MOREDespite Cancelling Trip To New Hampshire, Mayor De Blasio Keeps Presidential Aspirations Alive

He said working people will “answer the call of the Democratic Party” if they hear that the party is “resolute in defense of their interests.”

The prospect of a de Blasio White House run has not been warmly received in the mayor’s hometown. Earlier this week, the candidates for public advocate became the latest to turn thumbs down on a potential 2020 bid, saying a man who can’t run the city certainly can’t run the country, CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported on Thursday.

“Now, the mayor may qualify to run for president. I am not sure he’s qualified to run for president,” former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said.

Mark-Viverito was just one of several candidates for public advocate saying de Blasio should not run for president.

“I think he’s complete delusional if he thinks he’s going to be president of the United States,” Ron Kim said.

“The mayor I endorsed in 2013 is not the mayor I’ve seen lately,” Jumanne Williams said.

“He would not be my candidate for president,” Dawn Smalls added.

The candidates cited a litany of de Blasio failures — from the New York City Housing Authority to the homeless to doing nothing to fix the subways.

“I think the mayor should finally focus on New York City,” Rafael Espinal said.

“When we talk about the crisis in our MTA and this pissing match between the governor and the mayor and things not getting done or accomplished, there’s a lack of leadership there,” Mark-Viverito added.

When told of some of the things said about him by the likes of Mark-Viverito and Kim, de Blasio said he respects them all and keeps his own counsel. When reminded that they don’t seem to respect him, the mayor said it again, “I respect them all.”

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)