New York mayor’s primary arrives Tuesday: what you need to know

Charges of voter suppression, racism and opportunistic political maneuvering took center stage on the eve of Tuesday’s primary as candidates vying to become New York’s next mayor made their final final speeches to voters.

It abruptly ended a primary season like no other, amid a pandemic that has created huge challenges for anyone who wins the Democratic primary and will likely step in on January 1 as the city’s 110th general manager.

Meanwhile, it could be weeks before New Yorkers know who is nominated for city hall seats on city council, in part due to the advent of ranked choice voting.

Voters can rank up to five candidates in the first city-wide test of the new system, which advocates discouraging negative campaigns and promoting coalition building among candidates. But until last weekend, the main Democratic candidates campaigned as usual, spiking each other in their bid to secure the nomination.

A last minute alliance between leaders Andrew Yang and former sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia threatens to escalate tensions in an already heated election as Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams leads in the polls.

While Yang on Saturday urged his supporters to rank Garcia second, she did not reciprocate. Yet the couple have campaigned together ever since, standing side-by-side at events and jointly appearing on campaign mailings.

Adams and his surrogates went so far as to claim that the alliance, announced on June 19, was aimed at deprive black and Latino voters of their civil rights.

“The false message”

“I think you sent the wrong signal and the wrong message. That’s how many African American and Hispanic candidates felt after seeing this, ”Adams said on CNN Monday morning.

Adams, who is black, said he could not speak for his supporters claiming, without merit, the Yang-Garcia couple would suppress voters.

“I can say this: that African Americans are very clear about removing voters – we know a voting tax, we know the struggle we have had historically, how you had to go through hurdles to vote,” said Adams.

“So if they think, based on their perception, that it took away the vote, then I respect their feelings,” he added.

Mayoral candidate Maya Wiley – a black civil rights lawyer who worked for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration – called Adams’ characterization of the partnership between Yang, who is Asian, and Garcia, who is white, ” dangerous ”.

“At a time when we see real voter suppression laws being enacted, using accusations of racism to undermine confidence in ranked choice voting is cynical, self-serving and dangerous,” Wiley said in a statement.

While alliances like Garcia’s and Yang’s are typical of preferential vote elections, de Blasio attributed their pact to an “opportunistic decision by the candidates.”

A crowd of candidates

In the Democratic primary – the outcome of which will likely determine the outcome of the mayoral race in November given the party’s huge registration advantage – voters can choose from a list of 13 candidates.

Adams, a former public transport policeman, has acquired favorite status. His most competitive rivals are Garcia, who draws on his managerial skills; Yang, entrepreneur and former presidential hopeful; and Wiley, in whom progressives have recently placed their hopes.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams holds a rally outside his Flatbush campaign headquarters on the last campaign day before the mayor’s primary on June 21, 2021.
Ben Fractenberg / THE CITY

The top eight candidates are rounded out by City Comptroller Scott Stringer; Ray McGuire, a Wall Street executive; Shaun Donovan, who worked in the Obama administration as housing secretary and budget manager; and Dianne Morales, a former nonprofit executive.

Also on the ballot are Art Chang, CFO and creator of NYC Votes, entrepreneur Joycelyn Taylor, attorney Aaron Foldenauer, rapper Paperboy Love Prince, and attorney Isaac Wright Jr.

On the Republican side, the founder of the Guardian Angels, Curtis Sliwa, is running against Fernando Mateo, restaurateur and defender of bodega owners and taxi drivers, for the wink of the mayor of the GOP.

Andrew Yang is campaigning in Manhattan's Chinatown on the last day before the mayor's primary, June 21, 2021.

Andrew Yang is campaigning in Manhattan’s Chinatown on the last day before the mayor’s primary, June 21, 2021.
Ben Fractenberg / THE CITY

The electoral campaign, confined for months largely to Zoom theaters, generated its share of scandals, dramas and oddities.

Stringer, who was once considered a favorite and darling of some progressives, saw his campaign turned upside down last month as allegations of sexual misconduct from two decades ago emerged. leveled against him by a former campaign worker. He denied the accusation, as well as a second which was revealed earlier this month.

Morales’s campaign, seen as the far left on the pitch, imploded amid an effort to unionize employees and a work stoppage in response to complaints of poor pay and a toxic work environment. Morales fired about 40 of its nearly 100 employees, navigating allegations of union violations, and continued his campaign.

With Stringer and Morales mired in controversy, many of their left-wing supporters, including the Working Families Party, turned their attention to Wiley.

Adams’ residence came under scrutiny earlier this month after an investigation revealed shortcomings in keeping the records of the president of the borough, questioning where exactly he lives. Adams’ campaign efforts to clarify that he resides in Bedford-Stuyvesant, sharing a ground-floor apartment with his son, have only added to the confusion as the famous vegan politician the refrigerator was not full with some of the usual items he credits with reversing his diabetes.

THE CITY recently revealed that Adams never listed a Brooklyn co-op he bought in 1992 with a friend on the required financial disclosure forms – and was still listed on documents listed as a co-owner in 2021, 14 years after declaring to have sold his stake in the apartment.

High stakes, uncertain participation

The next mayor will inherit a city still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic which has so far killed more than 33,000 New Yorkers have closed about a third of small businesses and resulted in high unemployment rates, making it one of the most important elections in the city’s history.

The mayor will face a myriad of challenges: balancing public safety concerns amid rising gun violence with the need to hold police officers accountable, budgeting while facing a deficit of around $ 5 billion. dollars expected for the next few years.

But it remains to be seen whether recent events overwhelmingly push New Yorkers to the polls.

The last time the city’s top job was competitive in 2013, around 20% of registered Democrats voted in the primary election, which de Blasio won. Campaigns and political watchers are watching closely to see if Democrats overtake the 646,000 votes they cast during the 2013 primary.

More than 191,000 New Yorkers voted early, according to the city’s Election Council, which began June 12 and ended Sunday. According to the BOE’s count, nearly 221,000 postal ballots have been requested in the five districts and around 82,600 have been returned to date.

But all of that is just a tiny fraction of the city’s roughly 3.9 million active Republican and Democratic voters who can vote in Tuesday’s primary.

The wait until the results become final adds to the tensions.

Tuesday’s election results in most races are unlikely to be clear until the week of July 12 at the earliest. As the polls close on Tuesday, the BOE will publish the first preliminary rankings of in-person ballots cast on primary day and during early voting.

City-wide revenue

The election results will not only shake up the city administration: most of the city government will get a facelift.

Stringer is on a limited-time basis as the city’s comptroller, chief financial officer, and agency expenditure auditor. Eight Democratic candidates are running to replace him. All five Borough President seats are on the line, with only outgoing Queens Borough President Donovan Richards vying to defend his seat.

In addition, eight Democrats and one Republican are running to become Manhattan’s new district attorney, and public attorney Jumaane Williams will try to keep his post against two other Democrats and a Republican candidate seeking the role of city watchdog. .

In addition to these races, around 300 candidates are vying to fill 35 of the 51 city council seats up for grabs. The body, which can legislate and control the power of the mayor, has the potential to be substantially overhauled on the basis of the primary.

The large number of candidates in the mayoral race in addition to the many other contests in play has led to an unprecedented increase in financial activity as campaigns raise donations and benefit from a new public system of matching funds. thanks to which more than 109 million dollars went to the candidates. in all races.

Meanwhile, Independent Expenses – groups that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money on behalf of candidates – have spent more than $ 37 million working to influence voters.

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