NYC Pays Record $110 Million of Public Funds: Election Update

New York City has paid out a record $110 million to candidates running in the June 22 primary, including $39 million for the mayor’s race. In their final televised appearance together before Election Day, the eight leading Democratic candidates for mayor debated crime and policing, housing and homelessness, budgets, climate change and undocumented immigrants. The debate got heated when candidates were asked to identify the worst ideas proposed by their rivals.

Early voting ends June 20. Many voters remain puzzled over a ranked-choice voting system that asks residents to select their top five candidates, rather than choose just one.

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Public Election Funds Soar

New York City’s Campaign Finance Board doled out its last round of public funds for the primary, bringing the total payments to candidates for mayor and other city offices to $110 million, the most in the program’s history.

Seven Democratic mayoral candidates and one Republican who participated in the matching funds program have received more than $39.2 million. Four -- Eric Adams, Scott Stringer, Andrew Yang and Kathryn Garcia -- received the maximum $6.5 million.

Two Democrats running for comptroller, Corey Johnson and Brad Lander, also received the maximum public payment for their race, about $4 million. Previously, only one citywide candidate, Christine Quinn, who ran for mayor in 2013, received the maximum.

The public funds outweigh $64.1 million that participating candidates raised in private contributions and $29.1 million in spending by political action committees.

“Public financing serves as a balance to the millions that wealthy special interests have poured into the races,” Frederick Schaffer, board chair, said in a news release.

In this last round, mayoral candidates received $6.9 million of public funds, with Garcia receiving the most at $2.2 million and Republican Fernando Mateo getting $2 million.

Democratic mayoral candidate Ray McGuire, a former Citigroup Inc. investment banker, didn’t participate in the program. -- Martin Z. Braun

Wiley Pushes Subsidies for Poor

Maya Wiley brought her progressive campaign for mayor to Hudson Yards’ office and residential towers in Manhattan to decry subsidies to wealthy developers and call for massive public investment on housing for the city’s working poor and homeless.

Hudson Yards was developed by Stephen Ross’s Related Cos. Wiley’s platform calls for limiting tax breaks for big developers.

“Developers y’all got yours, the rich, the powerful, but this a city that’s going to be for the people,” said Wiley, without mentioning any developer by name. She vowed she would have “the courage to stand up and say to developers, ‘No, you can’t just tell us what parts of the city you get and you’re going to take resources and investments from east Harlem for public housing residents. We’re done with that.’”

Wiley used the rally to promote her proposal to subsidize rents so that individuals making $42,000 or less a year and families of three earning $54,000 would pay no more than 30% of their monthly income on housing. -- Henry Goldman

De Blasio Says No Debate Winner

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday’s two-hour debate among his potential successors was “pretty uninspiring” and he remains undecided.

“No one won in my estimation,” de Blasio said Thursday during a virus press briefing. “I did not hear enough. I’m going to keep examining the candidates.”

The mayor said he is unsure whether he will make his choices public.

“By Tuesday June 22 I will figure out five people to rank,” he said. “That much I know.”-- Peyton Forte

Charter Schools Part of Adams Plan

Adams, the current frontrunner in the mayoral race, said his education priorities for the city include charter schools as well as public and private institutions.

”My vision is surrounding, lifting up excellence, if that means charter schools, public schools, private schools, let’s duplicate successful schools in our city,” Adams, 60, said Thursday in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

NYC Pays Record $110 Million of Public Funds: Election Update

Adams, the Brooklyn borough president and a 22-year veteran of the New York Police Department, called for schools to pay more attention to non-academic issues such as nutrition and to allow private businesses to have a hand in developing curriculum. He called for more technology in the schools, including more wireless access. -- Skylar Woodhouse and Henry Goldman

Debate Takeaways

Wednesday night’s debate was marked by barbs traded between Adams and Yang, the former presidential candidate, who has fallen behind Adams in recent polls. Yang assailed the former police captain for not having the right answers to fight crime, and taunted him with the fact that the union representing New York Police Department captains endorsed Yang, not Adams. Adams said he never asked for their endorsement, but Yang said he did.

McGuire, who has spent the most on the mayoral race and is near the bottom of the pack in polls, squabbled with nonprofit executive Dianne Morales over whether he spoke for minorities in the city. McGuire also took aim at Stringer, the city comptroller, and Wiley, a civil-rights advocate, as he worked to distinguish himself from the pack. -- Henry Goldman and Skylar Woodhouse

Second-Choice Picks

Candidates looking for clues to how people will vote with a ranked-choice system may find them in the WNBC/Telemundo 47/Politico/Marist Poll conducted June 3-9.

Adams isn’t just polling high for first-choice picks, but is also the most popular second choice: Adams was the second pick among likely Democratic primary voters who named Stringer, McGuire and Yang as their first choice.

The big exception was respondents who ranked Garcia first and then Wiley second, and vice versa. For those who named Adams as their first choice, Yang was their most common second choice. Likely Democratic primary voters ranked an average of 2.8 candidates, the poll found.

With ranked-choice voting, candidates who are broadly liked may benefit from being listed as a second or third choice, even if they are not the first choice of a majority of voters. It is possible for a candidate who initially comes in second or third place to emerge as the winner after candidates are disqualified. -- Stacie Sherman

De Blasio on Race to Replace Him

De Blasio said many of the Democratic candidates’ plans for the city would continue or expand upon policies enacted by his administration, “even if they don’t want to admit it.”

“It was very entertaining in the debates to hear people talk about things we should do as a city that we’re already doing,” de Blasio, who is term limited, said in a conversation with former deputy mayor Howard Wolfson that was published by Bloomberg Opinion on Wednesday. “I think they have bought in to the vast majority of the core policies of my administration, even if they don’t want to admit it.”

At a debate earlier this month, all of the top candidates except Yang said they didn’t want de Blasio’s backing. And in a recent Emerson College poll, few voters said his endorsement would make them more likely to support a candidate. -- Stacie Sherman

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