NYC mayoral race: Eric Adams wins Democratic primary in closely watched race

Brooklyn borough president and former NYPD officer claims victory, expected to become city’s next mayor

Alex Woodward
New York
Wednesday 07 July 2021 01:23
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NYC mayoral candidate Eric Adams gives the press a tour of his home

Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams – a former New York City Police Department officer and state legislator whose campaign centred around public safety in its final weeks – is the winner of the Democratic primary for New York City’s next mayor.

The Associated Press has called the race following his narrow lead after elections officials tallied thousands of absentee ballots in the primary election on Tuesday, putting him closer to becoming the second-ever Black man to lead America’s most populous city.

Mr Adams emerged with a slim, 1 per cent lead over the city’s former sanitation director Kathryn Garcia following the latest tally.

The preliminary count from the city’s Board of Elections on 6 July includes roughly 125,000 absentee ballots, which voters had until 29 June to submit in time for the primary election.

Mr Adams now leads with roughly 8,000 votes, eclipsing the total of outstanding ballots to be “cured” or corrected before the city certifies the results by 14 July.

“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,” he said in a statement.

In the city’s first-ever ranked-choice voting system, voters selected up to five candidates in order of preference in the citywide races on the ballot.

No candidate in the mayoral race won more than 50 per cent of the first-choice votes, so a process of elimination began. After lower-ranked candidates were eliminated from the race, voters’ other picks were distributed – round by round – to determine the winner. The process stands in contrast to a two-round runoff, in which candidates who did not win a simple majority vote then face off in a second election.

Pollsters predicted that the absentee ballots would generally favour Ms Garcia, tightening the gap between her and Mr Adams, with progressive candidate Maya Wiley holding steady in third place.

Following the first round of results from Election Day, Mr Adams was leading by nearly 10 percentage points, which shrank after the ranked-choice results were tallied.

In a corrected tally after an initially botched roll out of additional ranked-choice results, Mr Adams was leading Ms Garcia by fewer than 15,000 votes, or a margin of roughly 2 per cent, with Ms Wiley trailing by only 347 votes.

Mr Adams will go on to face Republican Curtis Sliwa in the general election in November, though the city’s overwhelmingly Democratic electorate is likely to choose the Democratic candidate.

“We must now 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,” Mr Adams said in a statement.

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