New York City will effectively elect its next mayor in the coming days, drawing to a close a tumultuous election race marred by allegations of sexual misconduct, by campaign personnel launching a protest against their own candidate, and by allegations of that at least one of the aspiring mayor does not live in the city.
The winner of Tuesday’s Democratic primary, given the city’s left-wing political leanings, will almost certainly win the election proper in November and will immediately be tasked with guiding New York through its darkest period in decades. .
America’s largest city is still reeling from the deaths of more than 30,000 people from coronavirus, many of them during a heartbreaking two-month period in early 2020. It is also engaged in a passionate debate about rebuilding the pandemic. in a way that addresses long-standing inequality issues.
Lack of affordable housing crisis, which was exposed during Covid-19, looms over the city, while an election season that began with requests for partial defunding from the New York police department has turned in recent weeks as an increase in shootings turned the debate in the opposite direction and propelled a Former black cop, Eric Adams, tops the polls.
After eight years of Bill de Blasio, who was elected progressive mayor but whose time in office has disappointed On both the left and right wing of the Democratic Party, the signs are that New Yorkers are ready to turn to the center.
But Adams, who would be the second black man to be mayor of New York City, and his centrist headmates Kathryn Garcia and Andrew Yang, have also been helped by the spectacular implosion of two of the most heated left candidates. the last two months.
Many supporters left Scott Stringer, the New York comptroller, after two women accused him sexual misconduct, while supporters of Dianne Morales, a former nonprofit executive, were horrified when most of her campaign staff led a demonstration outside your office in May, accusing his candidate of union repression and inaction on accusations of racism.
The lack of a serious Republican candidate has added to the certainty that it will be the winner of the Democratic primary who will move into the Gracie Mansion, the official residence of the mayor of New York City, in January.
Despite the added importance of the upcoming vote, early voting so far has been very low in a city and country that may be suffering from electoral exhaustion.
Only 32,032 people voted in the first two days they were eligible to do so, which The New York magazine noted it’s less than 1% of the city’s 3.7 million registered Democrats and 566,000 registered Republicans.
However, this is the first mayoral election in the city that has had early voting, and the candidates expect the majority of voters to attend the city’s 1,107 polling sites that day.
Polls so far suggest that those voters, who can rank up to five candidates for the first time in a New York mayoral election, are struggling to make a decision. Yang, a tech entrepreneur who ran a whimsical run for president in 2020, led polls for weeks before being caught by Adams and Garcia, a former New York sanitation commissioner who has been endorsed by the New York Times.
However, Maya Wiley, a civil rights lawyer running as a progressive, has picked up the lost progressive endorsements by Stringer and Morales, and rose to second place in a poll last week, while another poll showed Yang, in particular, losing support.
Wiley, like Garcia, would be the first New York mayor in history, a moment that garnered attention when she voted for herself on Monday.
“Seeing my name on a ballot is very difficult to describe”, Wiley said On twitter. “It is very moving. And I’m thinking of all the girls I met this year who looked me in the eye and saw themselves. I ranked number one for them. “
For Adams, becoming the pioneer has not been without its problems. Begining of June Politico reported there was “conflicting information” on whether Adams, the current Brooklyn Borough President, actually lives in neighboring New Jersey, where he co-owns a home with his partner.
This led to the bizarre scene of Adams taking a tour of what he said was his Brooklyn garden-level apartment.
Yet as Adams showed reporters his “modest little room” and his “modest little bathroom,” Internet detectives noticed that a line of sneakers in what Adams said was his bedroom matched the shoes his adult son wore in Instagram photos, while others pointed out that the fridge in the brooklyn apartment It was different from the refrigerators Adams had previously shown in photos on Twitter.
Adams later receipts released from his EZpass, an electronic tag that automatically bills tolls incurred at bridges and tunnels, which he said showed that while he visited New Jersey, it was never for more than a few hours at a time.
Yang, who came under fire earlier this year after it emerged that he had moved his family out of town when Covid-19 struck, has had no qualms about broaching the issue.
“I want to reflect on the weirdness and weirdness of where we are in this race right now, where Eric is literally trying to convince New Yorkers where he lives and that he lives in this basement.” Yang said in a debate last week.
A nastier backdrop to both men’s campaigns, and a reality check for those who see New York City as a progressive spark, is the millions of dollars that the groups that support Adams and Yang have received from large donors of money who normally save their money for the Republican candidates.
A brighter point for many has been the introduction of ranking voting for the first time in New York City, although implementation has not been without its problems. Some black political leaders have criticized the system, suggesting that voters of color were less likely to receive adequate information about how the ranking election works and less likely to participate in candidate ranking.
On a recent survey74% of white voters said they planned to elect more than one candidate, but only half of black and Hispanic voters said they would do the same, an especially disappointing statistic in a race where four of the top eight candidates are People of color.
Meanwhile, climate change has been largely absent from televised Democratic debates, a glaring oversight for a coastal city that has an average elevation of 33 feet (some areas are much lower) and was decimated by the storm surge from Hurricane Sandy. in 2012.
Instead, in recent weeks crime has become a key issue. According to the NYPD public database, there were 490 shootings in the city between January 1 and May 16 of this year, the highest number since 2002, while there have been 146 murders, a sharp rise from 2019 and 2020, and an increase matched by some other large US cities.
That figure is a far cry from the dark days of the 1980s and 1990s, when some years saw more than 2,000 people killed, but it has been enough to dominate the discussion.
Last summer, when tens of thousands of people attended the Black Lives Matter anti-racism protests in New York, many of the candidates seemed to agree to cut the NYPD’s $ 6 billion budget, but in recent months some have objected, with Yang recently. calling for a “recruiting drive” to hire more police officers.
Unless Wiley, who has followed through on his plan to separate a billion dollars from the police budget, can pull off a victory, an election that started with high hopes for progressives will likely end disappointed.
But with New York City facing problems on a scale not seen in a generation, a job that was once called America’s “second hardest job” is likely to live up to its name: Whoever. take over.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism