Eric Adams, the Brooklyn Borough president, is projected as the winner of the New York City Democratic mayoral primary, according to the Associated Press. The former New York City Police Department captain ran as a more moderate Democrat and made curbing crime his central issue.
Adams will be favored in the general election matchup against Republican Curtis Sliwa because of the high percentage of Democrats and liberals in New York City. If Adams wins in November, he’ll be New York City’s second Black mayor.
He jumped out to a lead on primary night as the first choice of voters who cast ballots during in-person voting. Adams held on to that lead as various rounds of ranked-choice voting tallies were conducted.
The Board of Elections released updated results on Tuesday night that included the bulk of absentee ballots and showed Adams ahead of his closest rival, former New York City Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, by 8,426 votes.
“While there are still some very small amounts of votes to be counted, the results are clear: an historic, diverse, five-borough coalition led by working-class New Yorkers has led us to victory in the Democratic primary for Mayor of New York City,” Adams said in a statement. “Now we must focus on winning in November so that we can deliver on the promise of this great city for those who are struggling, who are underserved, and who are committed to a safe, fair, affordable future for all New Yorkers.”
New York City’s first citywide ranked-choice election had its bumps. Last week the Board of Elections had to retract unofficial ranked-choice results from in-person voting because test ballots were accidentally included in the final tally. The board released the correct results the following day, showing Adams with a two-point lead over Garcia with just the in-person votes tallied.
While Adams’ lead tightened a bit on Tuesday after the majority of absentee ballots were included, he still maintained a one-point lead over Garcia.
Garcia has not yet released a statement, but her campaign said its legal team was assessing how many absentee ballots remained.
Civil rights attorney Maya Wiley was eliminated in the second-to-last round of Tuesday’s ranked-choice voting tabulation. Wiley was in second place for most of the rounds, but Garcia passed her by about 12,000 votes after former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang was eliminated. Yang encouraged his supporters to rank Garcia second on their ballots, a move that seems to have given Garcia an edge over Wiley.
“We now have an initial and uncertified counting of absentee ballots and tabulation of Rank Choice Voting. It would be an understatement to express dismay at the (Board of Elections’) administration of this election,” Wiley said in a statement. “Today we simply must recommit ourselves to a reformed Board of Elections and build new confidence in how we administer voting in New York City. New York City’s voters deserve better, and the (Board of Elections) must be completely remade following what can only be described as a debacle.”
Wiley said she will have more to say about the next steps “shortly.”
Adams’ projected victory came the same day that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a disaster emergency due to the spike in gun violence. Murders in New York City are up 8.5% compared to last year and shootings are up about 38%.
Adams made crime the central issue of his candidacy. He frequently said on the trail that the city needs solutions for intervention to address the spike in crime right now, and prevention, which would address some of the root causes of crime. He has also said that he will strike a balance between confronting rising crime and ensuring racial justice.
At an event just before the primary Adams pledged that in one year, New York is “going to be the safest big city in America.” At a separate event he told supporters, “we will get the justice we deserve with the safety we need.”
Adams was beaten by police officers when he was a teenager in South Jamaica, Queens, while he was in custody. He says that inspired him to become a police officer to try to change the department from the inside.
Adams’ opponents criticize him for saying that some controversial police tactics like “stop-and-frisk” can be an important tool for police officers. He assured voters that he would not allow the practice to go back to the way it was used under former mayors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg. A federal judge ruled in 2013 that the NYPD misused the practice in an unconstitutional manner and specifically cited Adams’ testimony against the practice.
In addition to his career with the NYPD, Adams also served four terms in the New York State Senate. He was elected Brooklyn Borough president in 2013.
The New York City Board of Elections said Tuesday there are still hundreds of ballots that are eligible to be cured, which means voters can fix issues so the ballots can be counted. The final deadline for some of the ballots to be cured is July 14. After that, the board will proceed with certifying the election results.