Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams won the Democratic primary for New York City mayor after appealing to the political center and vowing to strike the right balance between tackling crime and ending injustice racial in maintaining order.
A former police captain, Adams would be the city’s second black mayor if elected.
He triumphed over a large field in New York’s first major race to use ranked choice voting.
Adams’ closest defeated rivals included former city sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia, who campaigned as a proven technocrat and problem solver, and former town hall legal counsel Maya Wiley. , which has enjoyed progressive support, including the endorsement of US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Andrew Yang, the 2020 presidential candidate known for his proposed Universal Basic Income, was one of the early favorites but passed out in the race.
Voting in the primary ended on June 22. Early returns showed Adams in the lead, but New Yorkers had to wait for tens of thousands of mail-in ballots to be counted and series of tabs to be done under the new ranked system of choice.
Under the system, voters ranked up to five mayoral candidates in order of preference. Candidates with too few votes to win were eliminated and the ballots cast for them were redistributed to the surviving candidates, based on voter preference, until only two remained.
The city’s first experience with the system in a major election was bumpy. As the votes were counted on June 29, election officials spoiled the tally by inadvertently including 135,000 old ballots. Erroneous vote counts were posted for several hours before officials recognized the error and removed them.
The error had no impact on the final result of the race.
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Adams will be the prohibitive favorite in the legislative elections against Curtis Sliwa, the Republican founder of the Guardian Angels. Democrats outnumber Republicans 7 times in New York.
Adams, 60, is a moderate Democrat who opposed the “defund the police” movement.
“We’re not going to recover as a city if we go back in time and see an increase in violence, especially gun violence,” Adams said after three people, including a 4-year-old girl, were injured shot in Times Square in May. .
“If black lives really matter, it can’t just be against police abuse. It has to be against the violence that is tearing our communities apart,” he told his supporters on the night of the primary.
But Adams is a study of contradictions who, in different eras, has been an advocate for Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, a registered Republican, and a successful Democratic senator in a world of backstage deals.
Adams frequently speaks about his dual identity as a 22-year-old police veteran and a black man who himself suffered police violence as a teenager. He said he was beaten by police when he was 15.
Adams became a police officer in 1984 and rose to the rank of captain before running for the State Senate in 2006.
While in the police service, he co-founded 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, a group that campaigned for criminal justice reform and against racial profiling.
After winning a seat in the Brooklyn Senate in 2006, Adams made a strong impression with a passionate speech in support of same-sex marriage rights in 2009, two years before New York state lawmakers passed a bill. marriage equality law.
Adams has also withstood some controversy, including a 2010 report from the state inspector general who criticized his oversight of the bidding process to bring casino games to Aqueduct Racecourse in Queens. Adams had accepted campaign contributions from a politically connected group bidding for the game franchise.
Adams was elected Brooklyn Borough President in 2013, his current position.
Adams is a vegan who attributes a plant-based diet to reversing his diabetes. He has a 25-year-old son Jordan Coleman with a former girlfriend. Her current partner is Tracey Collins, an educator who holds an administrative position in the city’s public school system.
Reporters raised questions during the race about where Adams lived. He was born in Brooklyn, walked there as a cop, owns real estate there and has represented them in the State Senate. But he slept in his Brooklyn Borough Hall office for months during the pandemic and opponents noted he shared a spot with his partner in Fort Lee, New Jersey.
Adams gave reporters a tour of a basement apartment in Brooklyn that he said was his primary residence.
Adams may be a charismatic speaker, but he also made some shocking statements, such as his 1993 suggestion that Herman Badillo, a Puerto Rican-born politician, should have married a Latina instead of a white Jewish woman.
Speaking at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event last year, Adams complained about gentrifiers coming to town from elsewhere.
“Go back to Iowa. Go back to Ohio,” Adams said. “New York City belongs to the people who were here and made New York City what it is.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, has been banned by the city’s charter from running for a third term.
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