DemDaily: New York State of Mind

March 26, 2021

(NY Magazine)

The country's largest city will hold its Democratic primary June 22nd, in what will unquestionably be the most significant mayoral race of 2021.

In the contest to succeed current New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is term-limited, no less than 30 candidates are competing to run the Big Apple, which has a population of over 8.6 million and a GDP greater than 180 countries.

In one of the nation's bluest cities and states, the winner of the Democratic primary on June 22nd is all but ensured victory in the November 2, 2021 general election.

It is only the fourth time in roughly half a century that the ballots won't include an incumbent mayor running for reelection, and the first time that those ballots will be cast under the city's new ranked-choice voting system.

Ranked-Choice Voting (RCV) is an electoral system in which voters rank their preference of candidates on their ballots. If a candidate wins 50+% of first-round votes, he or she is declared the winner. If no candidate wins an outright majority in the first round, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. The votes are then re-calculated according to the second choice of the last-place finisher's voters. If, under the new tally, no candidate still has the 50%+1 majority to win, then the process is repeated until one candidate has a majority and is declared the winner.

Yang, who leads in polling, announced January 14, 2021 (Michael Santiago)

Add in the fact that New York City has been the epicenter of the COVID pandemic in the states, which is the number one issue on voters' minds, and you have an unprecedented political dynamic in which 50% of the voters are currently undecided.

The Top Contenders
Andrew Yang, tech entrepreneur, former Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship under Obama, and former 2020 presidential candidate.
Endorsements: Congressman Ritchie Torres (NY-15), two NY State Assemblymembers, the Freelancers Union (co-endorsed with Wiley), Martin Luther King III, actor John Leguizamo and comedian Amy Schumer.

Donovan, Garcia, Yang, McGuire, Adams, Morales, Wiley, Stringer (Gotham Gazette)

Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough President (2013-present), former four-term State Senator.
Endorsements: Former Congressman Charles Rangel (NY-13), former Congressman Edolphus Towns (NY-10), three State Senators, eight State Assemblymembers, ten of 51 New York City Council members. District Council 37, SEIU 32BJ, New York State Court Officers Association, Public Employees Federation.

Shaun Donovan, former  Obama US Office of Management and Budget Director (2014-2017) and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (2009-2014). Previously served under Mayor Mike Bloomberg as the Commissioner of the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development from 2004 to 2008.
Endorsements: Former Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, Senator John Hickenlooper (CO), Actor Edward Norton. SEIU Local 246, SEIU Local 444, Teamsters Local 813, Teamsters Local 831.

New York City Congressional Districts are represented by Congresspersons Gregory Meeks (5th/Queens), Grace Meng (6th/Queens), Nydia Velázquez (7th/Brooklyn), Hakeem Jeffries (8th/Brooklyn), Yvette Clark (9th/Brooklyn), Jerry Nadler (10th/Manhattan), Nicole Malliotakis (11th/Staten Island), Carolyn Mahoney (12th/Manhattan), Adriano Espaillat (13th/Manhattan), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (14th/Bronx), and Ritchie Torres (15th/Bronx)

Kathryn Garcia, former Commissioner of the NYC Department of Sanitation (2014-2020), former Interim Chair and Chief Executive Officer of the NYC Housing Authority (2019) and former Chief Operating Officer of the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (2012-2014).
Endorsements: SEIU Local 246, SEIU Local 444, Teamsters Local 813, Teamsters Local 831

Adams has support of District Council 37, NYC's largest public employees union (Luiz Ribeiro)

Ray McGuire, former Citigroup executive and one of the highest-ranking and longest-serving African American business executives on Wall Street.
Endorsements: Former Obama Advisor Valerie Jarrett, former Congressman Steve Israel (NY-3), LL Cool J, Spike Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, Steve Martin and former basketball star Patrick Ewing.

Dianne Morales, longtime social services non-profit CEO who currently heads up Phipps Neighborhoods, a Bronx social services organization that fights poverty.
Endorsements: Two State Senators and two Assemblymembers.

Scott Stringer, NYC Comptroller (2013-present), former Manhattan Borough President (2006-2013), former NY State Assemblyman for the 67th district (1993-2005)

Powerful SEIU 1199 union, with 200,000 predominantly African American health-care workers, has endorsed Wiley (Getty)

Endorsements: New York Congressmen Jamaal Bowman (16th), Adriano Espaillat (13th), Jerry Nadler (10th), eight State Senators, 12 State Assemblypersons and two NYC Council members. Unions: CWA District 1, Laborers' International Union, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, Sheet Metal Workers Local 28, UFCW Local 1500. New York Communities for Change, actress Scarlett Johansson.

Maya Wiley: New School professor, MSNBC analyst, former NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board Chair (2016-2017), former Counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio, former ACLU and NAACP Legal Defense Fund attorney.
Endorsements: Congresswoman Nita Lowey (NY-7), one State Senator, four State Assemblypersons, and three New York City Council members. Unions: SEIU Local 1199, Freelancers Union (co-endorsed with Yang). Democracy for America, actors Chris Evans, Rosie O'Donnell and Alyssa Milano.

Fundraising: As of March 15th, separate from matching funds, McGuire had raised $7.37 million, Stringer $3.47 million, Adams $3.36 million, Donovan $2.21 million, Yang $2.14 million, Wiley $1.04 million, and Morales $547,985.

The Republican primary will also be held on June 22nd, with a field of six candidates.

Guardian Angels founder & radio talk show host Curtis Sliwa, and Fernando Mateo, founder of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers, are considered the top two GOP contenders.

Republican Fernando Mateo announced his candidacy February 23, 2021 (NYPost)

Others include attorney and social media personality Adam Oremland, businessman and perennial candidate Abbey Laurel-Smith, retired NYPD officer Bill Pepitone and Foundation House CFO Sara Tirschwell.

In a March 15-18, 2021 Fontas Advisors/Core Decision Analytics survey of likely Democratic primary voters, 50% are still undecided on who they'll choose for mayor, with top-ranking Andrew Yang garnering only 16% of support.

Eric Adams placed second with 10%, followed by Maya Wiley at 6%, Comptroller Scott Stringer 5%, Ray McGuire 4%, and Shaun Donovan, Kathryn Garcia and Dianne Morales at 2% each. Participants were presented with the leading eight candidates, as well as the option to pick someone else (1%). 50% were undecided. The Margin of Error (MOE) was +/-3.5%.

Wall Street mogul McGuire is the top money raiser (Bloomberg)

The Issues
In the same survey, 91% of likely voters responded that "vaccine distribution and stopping the spread of COVID-19" was "Extremely" or "Very" important, placing it ahead of all other issues. "Improving public education" ranked second with 88%, followed by "creating new jobs and opportunities" (86%), "homelessness" (85%), and "healthcare, not including COVID-19" (84%).

The next Democratic primary debate is scheduled for Thursday, May 13th, from 7:00pm-9:00pm. Spectrum News NY1 will be co-hosting the event, along with WNYC, Gothamist, TheCity, Citizens Union, John Jay College, and Social Work Votes.

Spectrum News NY1 will also host the next Republican primary debate on Wednesday, May 26th from 7:00pm-8:00pm.

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Kimberly Scott

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Sources: New York TImes, Daily News, NYCCFB, Gotham Gazette, CityandStateNY, Bloomberg, Ballotpedia, Wiki

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