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NEW YORK — It’s all about the absentees.
Eric Adams’ lead in the city’s Democratic mayoral race shrunk drastically after ranked-choice tabulations were released Tuesday — with Kathryn Garcia trailing him by less than 16,000 votes, meaning the winner will be determined by scores of yet-to-be-counted absentee ballots.
After 11 rounds of ranked-choice counting, Adams, Brooklyn’s borough president, held the lead with 51.1% of the vote over Garcia, the city’s former sanitation commissioner, who clinched 48.9%, according to unofficial results released by the Board of Elections. Just 15,908 ballots separate the two candidates, the tabulations show.
Former Bill de Blasio counsel Maya Wiley, the only other major contender left in the race, was eliminated in the 10th round.
Still, the results are not certified, and nearly 125,000 absentee ballots cast in the June 22 primary have yet to be counted, meaning the race could shake up again.
Absentee ballot results, meantime, are not expected until July 6 at the earliest, according to the Board of Elections.
Garcia, who would become the first female mayor in New York history if elected, celebrated the updated results, but also pleaded for patience from New Yorkers.
“We are still waiting for more than 120,000 absentee ballots to be counted and we are confident about a path to victory,” Garcia said. “Once all the votes are counted, I know everyone will support the Democratic nominee and that’s exactly what I intend to do. We look forward to the final results. Democracy is worth waiting for.”
Adams did not immediately react to Tuesday’s ballot dump.
Ahead of Tuesday’s ranked-choice rounds, Adams led the race decisively, having received 31.7% of top-ranked in-person votes, with Wiley, his then-closet challenger, capturing 22.3%.
This month’s elections are the first in city history to use the ranked-choice system, and the long wait for conclusive results are rubbing some political experts the wrong way.
Sid Davidoff, who has worked in city politics since the 1960s and advised several mayors, was stunned that the Board of Elections dropped the first batch of ranked-choice results before counting absentees.
“This is crazy,” Davidoff told the Daily News. “I just don’t understand why it was necessary to do this analysis without waiting for the absentee ballots. It really doesn’t tell us anything other than Eric is still holding first place.”
Andrew Yang, who dropped out of the race on Primary Night last week after coming in fourth in early results, also gave Garcia a major boost once his votes were dispersed across the field following his ranked-choice elimination in the 10th round.