Eric Adams’ lead shrinks in NYC Democratic mayoral primary
By KAREN MATTHEWS
NEW YORK (AP) — Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams lost much of his lead in the Democratic primary for mayor of New York City after the first round of ranked choice tabulation was released Tuesday, sowing new seeds of uncertainty into an unpredictable contest.
Adams, a former police captain who would be the city’s second Black mayor, was ahead of former sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia by fewer than 16,000 votes in the unofficial tally, a lead of about 2 percent.
The updated results released Tuesday were still highly incomplete because they didn’t include any of the nearly 125,000 absentee ballots cast in the Democratic primary.
Civil rights lawyer Maya Wiley was also still within striking distance of victory, with fewer than 4,000 votes separating her from Garcia.
Garcia said in a late afternoon news conference that she was confident she had a path to victory, but wasn’t “counting any chickens before they’ve hatched.”
“I’ve not crowned myself anything yet. You’ve gotta wait until the votes have been counted,” she said.
She said that no matter who ultimately wins, she would support the Democratic nominee.
Representatives for Adams didn’t immediately respond for a request for comment.
Elections officials plan on conducting another round of ranked choice analysis on July 6 that includes absentee ballots.
New York City’s primary went into a state of suspended animation a week ago while officials prepared to give the public its first look at results from the city’s new ranked choice voting system.
Under the system, voters could rank up to five candidates in order of preference.
Since no candidate was the first choice of more than 50% of voters, a computer on Tuesday tabulated ballots in a series of rounds that worked like instant run-offs.
In each round, the candidate in last place was eliminated. Votes cast for that person were then redistributed to the surviving candidates, based on whoever voters put next on their ranking list. That process repeated until only two candidates were left, Adams and Garcia.
When voting ended June 22, elections officials only released results showing who voters put down as their first choice for the job. In that count, Adams had a lead of around 75,000 votes over Wiley with Garcia close behind in third.
But in Tuesday’s results, Garcia was boosted into second when former presidential candidate Andrew Yang was eliminated in the 10th round of ranked choice tabulation.
Garcia then got a huge boost when Wiley was eliminated in the 11th round. A little more than half of Wiley’s supporters went to Garcia while only 19% supported Adams. Thirty-one percent of Wiley’s supporters didn’t rank Adams or Garcia anywhere on their ballots.
Wiley could still win if she is favored among people who voted by mail.
“I said on election night, we must allow the democratic process to continue and count every vote so that New Yorkers have faith in our democracy and government. And we must all support its results,” Wiley said in an emailed statement.
The Democratic primary winner will be the prohibitive favorite in the general election against Curtis Sliwa, the Republican founder of the Guardian Angels.
Either Adams or Wiley would be the second Black mayor of New York City, and either Garcia or Wiley would be the first woman mayor.
Adams, 60, is a moderate Democrat who opposed the “defund the police” movement and said that under his leadership, the city could find a way to fight crime while also combating a legacy of racial injustice in policing.
He was previously a state senator before becoming Brooklyn’s borough president, a job in which he lacks lawmaking power, but handles some constituent services and discretionary city spending.
Garcia, 51, is a city government veteran who ran as a nonideological crisis manager well-suited to guiding New York out of a once-in-a-century pandemic.
Garcia ran the department of sanitation from 2014 until leaving last September to explore a run for mayor. De Blasio also tapped Garcia to run an emergency food distribution program during the coronavirus pandemic after earlier appointing her interim chair of the city’s embattled public housing system.
She earlier served as chief operating officer of the city’s department of environmental protection, responsible for water and sewer systems.
Wiley, 57, served as counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio and previously chaired a civilian panel that investigates complaints of police misconduct. A former legal analyst for MSNBC, she ran as a progressive who would cut $1 billion from the police budget and divert it to other city agencies.