Who’s Running for Mayor of New York? Here’s a Guide to the Field

New York City residents head to the polls Tuesday as 15 candidates compete to lead the most populous U.S. city’s recovery from the pandemic. Here is a guide to the election:

Polling hours:

Polling places are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Election Day. Poll sites can be found here: Find My Poll Site/View Sample Ballot (vote.nyc)


There are 13 candidates on the Democratic ballot and two on the Republican. Voters who have registered with a political party may vote in its primary. The elections will ultimately determine one Democratic candidate and one Republican candidate who will face off in November’s general election.


Bill de Blasio was elected the 109th mayor of New York City in 2013, and was re-elected in 2017. He is limited to two terms. All 109 mayors have been men, and only one was Black.


Democrats outnumber Republicans 7-to-1 in New York City and are heavily favored to win the general election. De Blasio won the 2013 election with 73% of the vote, and won a second term in 2017 with 67% support.

Voting system:

For the first time, New York City is using a ranked-choice system in its mayoral election. For the Democratic primary, voters will be asked to pick their top five candidates. If the top vote-getter secures more than 50% of the vote, he or she is declared the winner. If not, the last-place candidate is eliminated, and those votes are redistributed among the second choices. The process continues until a candidate wins a majority. Read more here: Ranked-Choice Voting Gets Its New York City Audition: QuickTake

The city’s board of elections said it expects to disclose the leading candidates after Tuesday’s polls close at 9 p.m. But unlike traditional elections, that’s just the beginning of the process.

The board will conduct subsequent rounds, eliminating candidates with the fewest votes and adding to their voters’ second-choice picks. Subsequent rounds also have to take in absentee ballots, which don’t have to be postmarked until Tuesday.

The city plans to provide updates on a regular basis until a final count on July 12, said Board of Elections spokeswoman Valerie Vazquez-Diaz.


Because only two Republicans are on the ballot, winner takes all. Voters will choose between Guardian Angeles founder Curtis Sliwa and small-business entrepreneur Fernando Mateo. Likely Republican voters surveyed in an Emerson College poll this month were split between the two, with a plurality undecided.


There are 13 Democratic candidates on the ballot. In recent weeks, those at or near the top of polls have been Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, former city Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia and civil-rights attorney Maya Wiley.

Meet the Candidates:

Adams, 60, has been Brooklyn borough president since 2014. He is a former state senator and 22-year veteran of the New York Police Department.

  • Supporters say: Adams is most voters’ second choice if not their first choice, which is a big advantage in a ranked-choice election. He also has a strong base in Brooklyn and among Black and Orthodox Jewish voters. Adams also is viewed by voters as the best candidate to handle crime, their top issue. Plus he’s an accomplished fundraiser.
  • Critics say: Adams has been the target of several ethics investigations. He faces questions about whether he actually lives in New Jersey with his girlfriend, rather than in Brooklyn. He also has been criticized for suggesting that a controversial policing strategy, stop and frisk, could be used if done properly.
  • Strategy: Adams has been able to appeal to both sides of the criminal justice debate because he was a victim of police brutality as a teenager and also was an officer.

Garcia, 51, was the city’s sanitation boss from 2014 until she resigned in September.

  • Supporters say: Garcia is a proven problem-solver. She was de Blasio’s go-to crisis manager, overseeing the distribution of millions of meals during the pandemic as well as a lead-poisoning crisis in public housing.
  • Critics say: Name recognition was an issue, at least before her endorsement by the New York Times and Daily News. Garcia also was accused of resigning from the de Blasio administration at a difficult point during the pandemic, which Garcia defended as a show of protest after the mayor cut her sanitation budget.
  • Strategy: Garcia has stressed her government experience. She also has highlighted her potential to make history as the first female mayor.

Yang, 46, is an entrepreneur and former U.S. presidential candidate.

  • Supporters say: Yang has benefited from national name recognition. Voters like his proposal for universal basic income.
  • Critics say: Candidates have called him an outsider and questioned his experience. He had been criticized for never voting in a New York City mayoral election, being out of touch with everyday residents, proposing ideas or making social-media posts without thinking them through, and overstating the impact of a venture nonprofit that failed to deliver the jobs he promised.
  • Strategy: Yang is looking to appeal to young voters with unconventional proposals such as UBI. He is focused on being positive and humorous, and convincing people he can bring them better days.

Wiley, 57, is former counsel to de Blasio. She also was chair of the city’s Civilian Complaint Review Board from 2016 to 2017.

  • Supporters say: Wiley has the support of national progressives, including U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who are looking to use New York City to show the strength of their movement. Like Garcia, Wiley benefits from an increased focus on empowering women in the wake of the #MeToo movement. She also has a large social media following from her time as a paid MSNBC analyst.
  • Critics say: Wiley advised de Blasio during an ethics investigation of his fundraising disclosure and voters aren’t big fans of the incumbent. She also was blamed for the city’s failure to bring broadband Internet service to all New Yorkers.
  • Strategy: Wiley is looking to appeal to supporters of the growing racial justice movement, with proposals to defund the police, tax the rich, give money to low-income workers and help the homeless.

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