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It’s not formally over til it’s certified, but in every way that matters, it’s done: After counting most of 125,000 absentee ballots and re-sorting based on ranked-choice preferences, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams holds enough of a margin over Kathryn Garcia to win the Democratic primary for mayor. He led in first-place votes on primary night several weeks ago and he kept that lead through the elimination rounds, and all the Board of Elections’ stupidity and iniquity.
This is validation of a bright, energetic and charismatic candidate — the No. 2 choice on our ballot — who never changed his message over a long and winding campaign, a man who’s shown substantial growth in his years as a public official. Adams has an opportunity to be an excellent mayor if he governs with a focus similar to that with which he campaigned, and if he steers clear of entanglements like those that tripped up Bill de Blasio. The results are also to the credit of Garcia, the former sanitation commissioner who came closer to winning the Democratic primary than anyone initially thought possible.
Adams, even before he is certified as the Democratic Party nominee, is now on the glide path to win in November. That’s just the blunt reality of elections in our overwhelmingly Democratic city and a collapsed GOP. But there is a Republican nominee, Curtis Sliwa — who considers reducing crime, the top issue on most voters’ minds at the moment, his specialty. Between now and then, we’d prefer engaging debates on that and other issues over the clownish stunts that Sliwa has made a lifetime of perfecting. At the very least, substantive challenges would hone Adams’ thinking as he readies to take the reins in City Hall.
In the meantime, Adams should spend every day refining his plans and starting gathering a cadre of advisers and future commissioners to enable a seamless transition. (And keep those seeking favors at arm’s length.) With almost six months until the next mayor is sworn in, there’s no excuse for a rocky start.