Eric Adams’ lead shrinks in NYC Democratic mayoral primary

Northeast

Mayoral candidate Eric Adams mingles with supporters during his election night party, late Tuesday, June 22, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen)

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.

Adams, a former police captain who would be the city’s second Black mayor, was leading by fewer than 16,000 votes over former sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia in the unofficial tally.

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.

Representatives for Adams and Garcia 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.

FILE – In this Tuesday June 22, 2021, file photo, Democratic mayoral candidate Maya Wiley, center, as she greet voters during a campaign stop in the West Village neighborhood of New York. Eric Adams holds a lead in New York City’s Democratic mayoral primary, but with hundreds of thousands of votes set to be redistributed in a new ranked choice voting system, it remained possible for opponents Wiley or Kathryn Garcia to come out on top. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Under the system, voters could rank up to five candidates in order of preference.

Since no candidate got more than 50% of the vote, a computer then began tabulating ballots in a series of rounds that work like instant run-offs.

In each round, the candidate in last place is eliminated. Votes cast for that person are then redistributed to the surviving candidates, based on whoever voters put next on their ranking list. That process repeats until there are only two candidates left.

The process of tabulating those rounds only takes a little time but when voting ended on 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 got a huge boost when Wiley was eliminated in the 11th round of counting. Most of Wiley’s supporters had ranked Garcia higher than Adams.

“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.

FILE – In this Tuesday, June 22, 2021, file photo, Democrat mayoral candidate Kathryn Garcia, center, posing for photos as she campaigns on New York’s Upper West Side. Eric Adams holds a lead in New York City’s Democratic mayoral primary, but with hundreds of thousands of votes set to be redistributed in a new ranked choice voting system, it remained possible for opponents Garcia or Maya Wiley to come out on top. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

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.

Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang attracted wide media interest when he joined the race in January and led in early polls, but his support dwindled by primary day. He has already conceded defeat.

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