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New Yorkers will head to the polls on Tuesday to choose the Democratic candidate for mayor after a prolonged period of upheaval and strife in their city.
With crime on the rise and businesses struggling to claw back from pandemic lows, New York City has become a dramatic backdrop for a race that could have implications for national politics. Observers are eager to see whether a law-and-order message or a much more liberal platform will ultimately resonate with a heavily Democratic city, as Democrats across the county grapple with how to re-tool their message after underwhelming performances in 2020 congressional races.
The candidates' last chance to prove themselves will come Wednesday evening, when the mayoral contenders will gather for their final debate before voters head to the polls on June 22 in the Democratic primary, likely choosing the favorite to replace Mayor Bill de Blasio in November. Republicans will choose the same day between entrepreneur Fernando Mateo and Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels crime prevention group. Early voting is already underway.
A former police officer, Eric Adams has made the city’s growing rates of violent crime a focal point of his front-running campaign.
His opposition to the more progressive police reforms pushed by the Left helped fuel his rise to the top of a crowded field after former presidential candidate Andrew Yang led in early surveys.
Adams, currently the president of the Brooklyn Borough, has attempted to appeal to working-class New Yorkers with a straight-talking style that has occasionally raised eyebrows.
For example, Adams said in January he would personally carry a gun instead of relying on a security detail if elected mayor.
Adams notched the endorsement of George Floyd’s brother on Wednesday, with Terrence Floyd praising Adams’s commitment to racial justice and police reform.
But he has also faced scrutiny, including over recent allegations he does not live in Brooklyn but in a New Jersey apartment with his girlfriend. Adams responded by inviting reporters to tour his Brooklyn apartment and by releasing his EZ-pass records, which show relatively few trips out of the city to New Jersey.
Garcia was most recently the city’s sanitation commissioner, and she has sought to cast herself as a practical manager rather than a progressive.
On the thorny issue of police reform, Garcia has advocated for changes such as docking the pay of officers who break the rules and raising the minimum age at which people can join the force.
But her proposals fall short of some of her liberal opponents, and Garcia has eschewed the more inflammatory rhetoric of the Left to become one of the three leading moderates in the race.
The former presidential contender and businessman was regarded as the front-runner early in the race, and he attracted a substantial amount of media coverage.
But Andrew Yang’s position in the polls slipped as the race wore on, with some of his more colorful comments failing to connect with many New Yorkers.
For example, Yang faced widespread derision when he told a reporter his favorite subway stop is Times Square.
The businessman has also faced questions about his New York City roots. In January, the then-undeclared mayoral candidate took heat for a clumsy defense of his decision to spend much of the pandemic in a house upstate rather than in the city.
Adams accused Yang of fleeing the city “during our darkest hour.”
And Yang’s justification — in which he said his two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan was too small to work in while his children learned online — struck many New Yorkers who endured that very scenario as out of touch.
Yang has touted his business experience in a campaign focused significantly on bringing economic recovery back to the city.
The civil rights attorney has emerged as the field’s top progressive, raking in endorsements from liberal groups and the high-profile likes of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Maya Wiley has pledged to spend big on recovery programs for the city — but not on the police. Wiley has said she would cut $1 billion from the New York Police Department’s budget and divert that money to schools. She also proposed spending billions on climate programs.
The former MSNBC analyst benefited from the problems faced by fellow progressives in the race, absorbing liberal supporters from two campaigns that collapsed.
Scott Stringer, the city’s comptroller, is still defending himself from sexual misconduct allegations that first emerged in April. A former intern on one of Stringer’s early political campaigns accused him of groping her against her will in 2001, and Stringer’s mayoral bid has struggled to recover.
Dianne Morales has not bounced back from a messy staffing drama that resulted in an employee strike and mass firings.
Although Shaun Donovan was a Cabinet secretary in the Obama administration overseeing the Department of Housing and Urban Development, he has gained little traction in the mayoral contest.
A political action committee backing Donovan has spent millions of dollars in ads, but Donovan received the support of just 3% of voters in the latest Marist poll.
While Donovan has cast himself as a competent manager from his time in government, Garcia has captured that vibe far more successfully.
The former Citigroup executive’s campaign has benefited financially from wealthy donors and Wall Street ties, but Ray McGuire has failed to break out of a crowded primary field.
McGuire also struggled to balance his Wall Street-friendly image with the portrait of humble roots and hard work that he tried to paint for himself on the campaign trail.
New York City’s comptroller has spent weeks denying the sexual misconduct allegation that rocked his campaign and another that emerged more recently.
He has aligned himself with liberal policies and chased progressive endorsements earlier in the race, only to watch Wiley occupy the political lane he hoped to command.
Once a liberal favorite, Dianne Morales saw her prospects dim significantly when she rejected the demands of campaign staff who had unionized, costing her support among the labor movement.
Morales ultimately fired dozens of campaign aides who had stopped working in an attempt to negotiate higher pay from the campaign, deepening the perception her mayoral bid was in turmoil.
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Several groups pulled their endorsements of Morales after the dust-up, with much of her liberal support flowing to Wiley.
Morales styled herself as an activist and described her campaign to the New York Times as “inherently radical.”
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Original Author: Sarah Westwood
Original Location: Runners and riders in the New York City mayoral race