Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, bested a large Democratic field in New York’s first major race to use ranked choice voting. Results from the latest tabulations showed him leading former city sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia by 8,426 votes, or a little more than 1 percentage point.
The Associated Press called the race for Adams based on mail-in ballot results in the June 23 primary that were added to the vote count Tuesday.
Adams will be the second Black mayor of the nation's largest city if he wins the general election in November.
Adams, 60, is a moderate Democrat who opposed the “defund the police” movement while acknowledging the reality of abuse such as he himself faced as a teenager when he was beaten by officers.
“I was arrested, I was assaulted by police officers,” Adams said on CBS. "I didn’t say, ‘Woe is me.’ I said, ‘Why not me.’ I became a police officer. I understand crime, and I also understand police abuse, and I know how we can turn around not only New York, but America.”
Asked what he would say to officers who are angry about calls to defund their departments, Adams said, “I say to my officers, ‘If you don’t want to be on the street any more, then get off my streets.’ I don’t want to hear someone say, because they don’t like what government is doing, you’re not going to protect my public. No."
He promised, “I’m going to have the finest officers. I will have their backs, but they’re going to have the backs of the people of this city."
Garcia conceded Wednesday and congratulated Adams. Maya Wiley, a civil rights attorney who was in third place in the primary vote tally, planned news conferences Wednesday.
With Democrats outnumbering Republicans 7 to 1 in the city, Adams will be heavily favored to defeat Republican Curtis Sliwa in the general election.