Garcia and Wiley try to shift Adams’ momentum as primary approaches
A week before the end of a hard-fought mayor’s primary and a day before the final race debate, Kathryn Garcia and Maya D. Wiley both tried on Tuesday to establish themselves as the voters’ best alternative to the apparent leader of the race. the race, Eric Adams.
“I have been a public servant, and that means I served the people of New York City,” Ms. Garcia, former sanitation commissioner, said in a noon interview in her campaign office in Brooklyn. “And that is what we need right now, not a politician who has won favors.”
“New York wants a different kind of leadership,” Ms. Wiley, former councilor to Mayor Bill de Blasio, said outside the central location of the Brooklyn Public Library an hour later. “No tinkering around the edges of issues that we haven’t been able to solve, but in fact, we strive to be bold and transformative.”
The messages echoed arguments the two candidates, both seeking to be New York’s first elected mayor, have made to voters in months. But they have taken on a new urgency as time to court supporters presses and polls show more city residents rally around Brooklyn Borough President Mr. Adams.
A poll released Monday by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion found that Mr. Adams had the support of 24% of likely primary voters. Behind him, almost neck and neck, were Ms. Garcia, 17%, and Ms. Wiley, 15%. (The poll had a 3.8 percent margin of error.)
At a campaign event, Adams showed the confidence of a leader before the home stretch.
“The more New Yorkers hear my story and my vision, they just seem to like me,” he said at a rally with Mexican-American leaders in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood.
But that same poll that showed Mr Adams’ strength also mirrored the gains of Ms Garcia, whose campaign surged after massive newspaper support, and Ms Wiley, who struggled to consolidate support. left-wing voters while other candidates stumbled. .
It also showed some overlap in their bases: Among voters who ranked Ms Garcia as their first choice, Ms Wiley was the most common second choice. For Ms. Wiley supporters, the most popular No. 2 was Ms. Garcia.
Yet for weeks, as the two candidates attempted to undermine their rivals’ bases, they largely refrained from attacking – or even mentioning – each other.
They also refrained from making statements of full support for each other, even in an election using a pick-by-order system where being a voter’s second choice could theoretically help a candidate win.
As the campaign enters its home stretch, Ms. Garcia, one of the more moderate candidates in the primary field, has sought to woo voters from the broad political spectrum of New York Democrats.
At times, she appeared to try to pass the needle between progressive voters and centrists on a range of issues, especially public safety.
On Monday in Lower Manhattan, she told progressive voters – one of whom complained that she “presents herself as an advocate for the police” – that she would curb police brutality and, if necessary, fire police officers. provocative.
That afternoon in south Brooklyn, she took on a slightly different tone with small business owners calling for more police officers on patrol. “I was very clear,” she said, “Everyone needs to be safe, regardless of where they live or what color their skin is. I lived the 70’s and 80’s in New York and I don’t want to go back.
On Tuesday, Ms Garcia sought to define her pragmatic approach to municipal government – one that focuses on day-to-day operations rather than ideology – as a leftist stance. Asked about her stance on climate change, she said “there is literally nothing more gradual than doing it, really hard work.”
She frequently made personal appeals to voters through solicitations or small events. On Tuesday, she hosted a roundtable with young people on how to improve the city’s foster care system.
The issue is far from central to the mayoral campaign, but it has given Ms Garcia – who was adopted and whose sister was placed in foster care for seven years – a chance to connect with voters on an emotional level while emphasizing his desire to get through entrenched bureaucratic tangles.
“It’s a very personal question,” Ms. Garcia said. “But also, that’s the kind of thing where we know it doesn’t work. And there is another way of thinking that works so much better.
Elsewhere on the campaign trail, Ms Wiley again attempted to unite the progressives behind her, announcing mutual support with Crystal Hudson, a central Brooklyn city council candidate seeking to be the council’s first gay black woman.
“There is a real choice for New Yorkers on the ballot,” Ms. Wiley said. “We, in a historic crisis, have historic choices. And one of them is to make history by actually voting for the most qualified to lead, in a historic crisis. “
Ms Wiley focused on affordable housing, which has been a major issue in Ms Hudson’s race. She reaffirmed her commitment to spend $ 2 billion to repair and expand public housing and expand housing subsidies to cover more New Yorkers.
“It’s not a crisis,” Ms. Wiley said of the city’s housing crisis. “It’s a looming disaster.”
Ms Wiley also dismissed earlier comments from Ms Garcia, who sought to portray the race as a two-man contest between Mr Adams and herself.
But she did not explicitly criticize either Ms. Garcia or Mr. Adams, saying instead that she was focusing on New Yorkers’ desire for “a different kind of leadership.”
Although Ms Wiley and Ms Garcia both voted, neither has disclosed her ranking.
Among the top five candidates for mayor, only Andrew Yang, whose support has slipped in recent weeks, has been willing to name his second choice: Ms. Garcia.
On Tuesday, Mr. Yang, who came fourth in the Marist poll, reiterated that support, responding to a question about whether he would serve in a Garcia administration, saying, “I would love to work with Kathryn in any capacity. is. “
Mr. Yang sounded optimistic when addressing voters at Kew Gardens in Queens. He said he looked forward to Wednesday’s debate, where he planned to focus on public safety, an issue that dominated the final month of the race.
Mr Adams, for his part, appeared to dismiss the value of the preferential voting system, calling the process “complicated” and saying the city’s electoral board had not properly informed residents about it.
“You go see the average downtown New Yorker and say, ‘What is preferential voting? “And they have no idea,” Adams said at his rally. “I’m concerned about this, but I want people to rank their candidates based on their choice, but the first thing I want them to rank is Eric Adams as their No.1.”
Proponents of the ranked vote say it gives voters more influence over the overall outcome of a race by allowing them to support a top pick while speaking out on other candidates in the race.
Lurie Daniel Favors, acting executive director of the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, criticized Adams’ comments, comparing them to efforts across the country to question the integrity of the elections.
“Rank voting has the potential to give black voters more power at the ballot box by allowing them to select and rank candidates who address their concerns in order of preference,” Ms. Favors said. “Any attempt to present classification voting as too complicated or to discourage voters from fully exercising their right to vote is wrong and detrimental to our community.”
Jeffery C. Mays and Emma G. Fitzsimmons contributed reporting.