Voters headed to the polls in New York City on Tuesday to pick their nominees for mayor following a campaign dominated by debate over public safety as the city recovers from the pandemic and confronts a surge in gun violence.
But the winner may not be known until next month.
That’s because Tuesday’s contest will be the first mayoral primary to use ranked-choice voting, in which voters rank up to five candidates in order of preference, adding a layer of uncertainty to the race.
The leading Democratic contenders include Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a former police captain who put policing and crime at the center of his campaign; former presidential candidate and entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who dominated coverage of the race early on; former sanitation chief Kathryn Garcia, who has run a technocratic campaign focused on her long experience in government, and civil rights lawyer and former MSNBC analyst Maya Wiley, who has focused her campaign on reigning in the city’s police.
The final days of the campaign saw an unusual sight this weekend: Yang and Garcia campaigned together on Saturday and Sunday in an apparent effort to blunt Adams' rising momentum. That’s because the use of ranked-choice voting incentivizes candidates to ask their rivals' supporters to rank them highly as well.
But whichever Democrat prevails will be a heavy favorite to win in November's general election, as state data shows that Democratic registered voters outnumber Republican voters by more than a six-to-one ratio.
The next mayor will be confronted with deep challenges including wealth inequality, police accountability, a lack of affordable housing and a struggling tourism industry in the country's most populous city of about 8.2 million residents.
Voters also will choose from eight Democratic candidates seeking to replace Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who is retiring. The nominee, who will be all but guaranteed to win November's general election, would inherit Vance's criminal probe into former President Donald Trump's business empire.