Shaun Donovan, a former housing secretary and budget director under President Barack Obama, filed paperwork on Monday to run for mayor of New York City.
Mr. Donovan was housing secretary from 2009 to 2014 before becoming budget director until Mr. Obama left office. During his time at the White House, he worked on expanding access to health care, an administration priority, and helped coordinate efforts the help the city recover after Hurricane Sandy.
For years, speculation has surrounded Mr. Donovan’s interest in a City Hall bid. His background as a member of Mr. Obama’s cabinet and his familiarity with the city, as housing commissioner when Michael R. Bloomberg was mayor, could give him credibility among voters.
“I think New Yorkers will be looking for a candidate who puts public service, and making the city work for everyone, above politics,” he said in an interview on Monday. “I think that makes me unique.”
For all of Mr. Donovan’s experience, he faces steep hurdles.
He is not well known outside policy circles in New York and Washington, and he has never run for office before. He also has not formally begun to raise money or assemble a staff, putting him well behind other, more established candidates.
Mr. Donovan, 54, is also a white man, a demographic already well represented in the race so far.
Of the three leading candidates in terms of name recognition and money raised, all are men, and two are white. They include Eric L. Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, who is black, and the city comptroller, Scott M. Stringer, and the City Council speaker, Corey Johnson, who are white.