NYC mayoral race heats up with 1st primary debate

The first primary debate of the Democratic party took place Thursday, featuring a diverse group of candidates attempting to tackle complicated issues.

Video Transcript

- And now the Vote 2021, the first debate of the Democratic party candidates for mayor of New York, the most diverse group of candidates ever. Three Blacks, three women, two Hispanics, one Asian, and the issues so complicated and so critical to rebuilding the New York City economy, the biggest in the country. And a new way of voting coming up.

No one person, one vote. It's now one person, five votes. With coverage of the debate tonight, here's political reporter Dave Evans.

DAVE EVANS: Because of the pandemic, tonight's debate was virtual. No surprise, the first issue, crime, police, and a deadly uptick in violence.

ERIC ADAMS: I also know that the prerequisite to prosperity is public safety, and I have been stating this for a while.

DAVE EVANS: Several of the candidates support cutting the police department, but not Andrew Yang.

ANDREW YANG: And let me be clear. Defund the police is the wrong approach for New York City. We need to evolve to a 21st-century form of policing.

DAVE EVANS: Maya Wiley wants to shift $1 billion out of the police department. Tonight, she was on the attack, blasting Eric Adams for once being a registered Republican in the 1990s.

MAYA WILEY: Eric, you were a self-described conservative Republican when Rudy Giuliani was mayor.

DAVE EVANS: And she even accused Adams, a former policeman, of supporting stop and frisk.

ERIC ADAMS: Thank you so much, Maya. And every time you raise that question, it really just shows your failure of understanding law enforcement. So let me give you--

MAYA WILEY: Well, having chaired the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board, I certainly understand misconduct.

DAVE EVANS: Andrew Yang was questioned why he's never voted in a city election and slammed as not ready to be mayor.

SHAUN DONOVA: This is not time for a rookie as mayor. This is the most consequential election of our lifetimes. This is not time for a rookie.

DAVE EVANS: Many liberal supporters have abandoned Scott Stringer because of a sexual harassment allegation. Tonight, he walked the tightrope of saying believe women, just not this one.

SCOTT STRINGER: I take it very seriously. My wife is a survivor. We've had long conversations about it. But this is an allegation that's not true.

DAVE EVANS: Stringer, though, has a wealth of experience, and so does Kathryn Garcia, the former sanitation commissioner.

KATHRYN GARCIA: And I am proud to have gotten the endorsement of the "New York Times." I don't need to know and be told where the lights are in city hall.

DAVE EVANS: Two of the candidates tonight said they would choose Kathryn Garcia as their number two pick. That certainly helps her with only six weeks to go until election day.