NYC Streets PAC Backs Garcia; Hecklers Irk Yang: Election Update

The candidates for New York mayor are ramping up the traditional large-scale events that evaded them during the pandemic and relegated the race to virtual forums. Five of the eight top Democratic hopefuls clashed on stage Monday night over Rikers Island, school reform and climate change at a mayoral forum. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren endorsed civil-rights lawyer Maya Wiley, joining Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in her choice for a progressive contender.

Key Developments:

Transit PAC Endorses Garcia

Former city Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia has been endorsed for mayor by StreetsPAC, an influential political action committee advocating for investments in bike lanes and pedestrian spaces in New York.

The group, which does voter registration and get-out-the-vote programs, had 16 victorious candidates among 21 it endorsed during municipal primary elections in 2013. In the 2018 general election, all 10 candidates it endorsed for the state legislature won, and in 2020, all 21 candidates it supported were elected, including five new members of the legislature backed in primary races.

“While all of the leading candidates, Ms. Garcia included, have proposed ambitious transportation agendas, we firmly believe that she is best equipped to deliver on her promises,” the group wrote in its endorsement Tuesday. “She understands clearly that physically preventing crashes through street design is the key to reducing deaths and injuries, and she has pledged to implement roadway redesigns across the city that put pedestrians, cyclists and transit riders first.”

Yang Tries to Dodge Hecklers

Former presidential contender Andrew Yang has stopped giving exact locations for campaign events in his public schedule after heckling incidents. Press are invited to attend public announcements but must formally RSVP for an exact address.

“We’re not interested in giving Scott Stringer’s campaign free air time,” Yang campaign spokesperson Jake Sporn said in an email when asked about the change.

Tyrone Stevens, a spokesperson for Stringer’s campaign, said Yang’s staff is “now literally making things up.”

“This is a Trump-style lie, intended to distract from the fact that he’s hiding from the public,” Stevens said. “Now we know why Stephen Miller likes Yang.”

Yang held a June 3 campaign event at the YMCA in Park Slope to confront Mayor Bill de Blasio at his former hangout. The event was met with hecklers that led Yang to flee.

In-Person Campaigning

In the final sprint to the June 22 primary, candidates are ramping up in-person events. On Tuesday, the indie rock back The Strokes said it will host an indoor concert for Wiley at the Irving Plaza music venue in Manhattan’s Union Square on Saturday. Proof of vaccination will be required for the full capacity event.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams was opening a new campaign office in Flushing, Queens on Tuesday following a community walk through Jackson Heights on Monday and a rally in Harlem. Yang planned to spend Tuesday canvassing in the Bronx while Garcia intended to ride a Citibike to campaign events and meet with business owners in Brooklyn Chinatown.

Schools, Jails at Forum

At Monday’s forum, hosted by the 92nd Street Y, City & State and PIX 11, Garcia said she supported Mayor de Blasio’s plan to shutter Rikers Island and replace it with four new jails. Wiley, former nonprofit executive Dianne Morales and former Citigroup Inc. banker Ray McGuire said they wanted to close Rikers but not build more jails. “If you build it they are going to fill it, it’s not the way to go,” McGuire said.

The candidates also focused on what they would do to desegregate the city’s public schools, which are considered one of the country’s most racially segregated school systems. Morales said the city has to take a more aggressive approach to integrate schools and use “moral and political courage.” Wiley said she wants to change the admission process for gifted and talented schools and hire 2,500 teachers.

Adams, Yang and Stringer didn’t attend the forum. “Eric’s been to more than 100 candidate forums and is participating in three debates. He’s spending time talking directly with voters during the last few weeks of the election,” said campaign spokesperson Madia Coleman. Yang was also canvasing voters. Stringer, who was expected to attend, didn’t respond to a request for comment about his absence.

Warren Backing

U.S. Senator and former presidential contender Elizabeth Warren endorsed Wiley on Monday, following the backing of other progressive politicians including Ocasio-Cortez and Representative Jamaal Bowman. “We need a fighter, a progressive changemaker, and a woman with plans to lead New York City,” Warren said in a Twitter post.

The endorsements come as Wiley tries to zip up the vote from the progressive wing of New York City, which hadn’t coalesced around a candidate. Morales’s campaign has been rattled by a labor dispute and Stringer has faced two allegations of sexual harassment, claims he’s denied. Leading contenders Adams, Yang and Garcia are all considered more moderate candidates.

Wall Street Stands by McGuire

Financial industry donors continue to shower McGuire with money despite his lackluster popularity among voters. McGuire was the first choice of 4% of voters in a NY1/Ipsos poll released on Monday, down from 6% in April. That put him seventh among eight leading candidates.

During an interview Monday on Bloomberg Television, McGuire predicted a late boost. He said his campaign is focusing on undecided voters, and also on becoming the second choice in this year’s ranked-preference system.

NYC Streets PAC Backs Garcia; Hecklers Irk Yang: Election Update

Yang Slips in Polls

Adams led Yang, 22% to 16%, in the latest NY1/Ipsos poll, a reversal from April, when Yang led 22% to 13%. Garcia, who was endorsed by the New York Times and Daily News, was third with 15%, up from 4% in April. Stringer was the only other candidate with 10% approval or more.

Just 16% of likely voters said they were still undecided on their first-choice candidate. The poll was conducted May 17-31 and had a credibility interval of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points among likely Democratic primary voters.

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