Following the latest ranked-choice count of primary voters, CNN predicts that Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams will be the Democratic nominee for mayor of New York City. The tally included the lion’s share of nearly 126,000 absentee ballots cast for the first time.
Former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia came in a close second in the final round of the New York City Board of Elections count, with Adams leading her by a single percentage point (50.5 percent to 49.5 percent). Maya Wiley, a civil rights attorney, advanced to the penultimate round, finishing third in the preliminary results.
Since Election Night, when he raced out to an early lead — and declared victory after the BOE released new numbers — Adams has spoken confidently. Adams would become the city’s second Black mayor and the first since the late David Dinkins lost reelection in 1993 if he defeats Republican nominee Curtis Sliwa, a heavy underdog. Adams, a retired New York Police Department captain, came out on top of a crowded field and confusing campaign that included former 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who briefly captivated the city before the race heated up. Yang conceded shortly after the polls closed on June 22, putting him in fourth place.
“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 on Tuesday night. “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.”
The campaign to succeed term-limited Mayor Bill de Blasio began to heat up in early May, after unfolding mostly as an afterthought to many New Yorkers for months, in the shadow of a devastating winter wave of Covid-19 and allegations of sexual harassment against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. As the election drew nearer, the race’s focus shifted as well. With vaccination rates rising and infection rates falling, public safety became a priority amid an increase in violent crime. Adams used his background in law enforcement to argue that he was uniquely qualified to stem the tide.
He also cited a long history of fighting racism in the NYPD to argue that, despite his support for a toned-down version of “stop and frisk” and the reinstatement of a contentious plainclothes unit, he was the best option for successfully overhauling the department.
In late May, Adams told CNN that the police department would “run rings around” the other candidates. “They are masters. If you’re a good mayor, you’re only here for eight years. I’ve been here for 30-something years in the department. Police departments will wait you out.”
Adams’ argument resonated with a large portion of the population outside of Manhattan and Brooklyn’s more liberal areas. In places like Southeast Queens, which is predominantly Black, and other working-class outer borough hubs, Adams boosted his vote totals. He also had a lot of support from the labor movement in the city, was a great fundraiser, and was backed by a big-spending super PAC. Despite the fact that De Blasio never publicly endorsed Adams, it was widely assumed that he preferred him and that he made this clear to some high-profile union leaders.
As the race entered its final weeks, Wiley, who served in de Blasio’s administration as counsel to the mayor during his first term, and Garcia gained traction, and both said they saw paths to victory after the first two rounds of counting. Wiley, on the other hand, struck a conciliatory tone on Tuesday, after criticizing the BOE’s handling of the count and calling for reform of the bumbling bureaucracy.
“To my staff, endorsers, friends, volunteers and all the New Yorkers who share our vision for a reimagined New York City, I want to thank you for your fierce commitment to this city and your humbling support for my campaign,” Wiley said in a statement. “We will have more to say about the next steps shortly.”
Garcia did not immediately respond to the latest results, but spokeswoman Lindsey Green said the campaign is “currently seeking additional clarity on the number of outstanding ballots and are committed to supporting the Democratic nominee.”
In addition to votes from early in-person and election day voters, the newly released numbers include approximately 118,000 newly tabulated ballots. Because nearly 126,000 Democratic absentee ballots were returned, this announcement includes the vast majority of the remaining ballots, but it is not a final result.