NYC’s Leading Candidates for Mayor Include Ex-Cop, Trash Chief

New York’s next mayor will inherit a $3.9 billion city budget shortfall for fiscal 2023 and a labor market still 550,000 jobs below pre-pandemic levels.

Eight leading Democratic candidates are vying to succeed Bill de Blasio, who is term limited, and run the largest city in the U.S. Democrats outnumber Republicans by 7-to-1 in New York City, favoring the winner of their June 22 primary for the general election.

For the first time, New York City is using a ranked-choice system in its mayoral election. Voters will be asked to rank 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 the 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

In a poll released May 26 by Fontas Advisors and Core Decision Analytics, a quarter of voters were “truly undecided” when ask who they would pick as their first choice in the primary.

Here are the eight leading candidates in alphabetical order:

Eric Adams, the Ex-Cop

NYC’s Leading Candidates for Mayor Include Ex-Cop, Trash Chief

Eric Adams, 60, has been Brooklyn borough president since 2014. A former state senator and top-ranking New York Police Department officer who spent 22 years in the NYPD, Adams led the Fontas poll, with 18% of voters saying he would be their first choice. Adams has presented himself to be the candidate for working-class New Yorkers. He has pledged to make the city run more efficiently, roll back taxes and regulations and use his experience as a cop to improve community-police relationships.

He’s been criticized for pledging to re-institute controversial policies like stop-and-frisk or plainclothes police units that disproportionately impacted Black and Latino residents, although Adams said he would modify them. He’s also been accused of accepting contributions from donors that later did business with the city in deals he had influence on as Brooklyn borough president, claims he has denied.

Shaun Donovan, the Housing Expert with D.C. Friends

NYC’s Leading Candidates for Mayor Include Ex-Cop, Trash Chief

Shaun Donovan, 55, is former U.S. housing secretary under President Barack Obama and headed the city’s housing department under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP. Despite receiving millions of dollars in donations from his father to bolster his campaign, he fared among the worst of the eight candidates in the Fontas poll, with just 4% ranking him first.

Donovan has pledged to spend $2 billion a year to repair public housing, create a down payment assistance program for homebuyers, reallocate about $500 million from the NYPD budget to community-based security measures and create 500,000 jobs in four years.

Kathryn Garcia, the Ex-Trash Boss

NYC’s Leading Candidates for Mayor Include Ex-Cop, Trash Chief

Kathryn Garcia, 51, got a campaign boost this month after endorsements from the Daily News and the New York Times, which said she “best understands how to get New York back on its feet.” In the Fontas poll, 11% picked her as their first choice, up from 2% in March. A separate PIX11/Emerson College poll conducted May 23-24 had Garcia leading the pack with 21% of respondents naming her as their first choice, up from 5% in March. Her major plans include free child care for parents with children under 3 making less than $70,000 a year, universal Internet access and legalizing recreational marijuana.

Garcia is former New York City sanitation commissioner and former interim chair of the New York City Housing Authority. She was de Blasio’s go-to crisis manager during her tenure, tackling the distribution of millions of meals during the pandemic, as well as a lead-poisoning crisis in public housing. But she has also been accused of resigning from the de Blasio administration at a difficult point during the pandemic, which Garcia has attributed to a show of protest after the mayor cut her sanitation budget.

Raymond McGuire, the Wall Street Executive

NYC’s Leading Candidates for Mayor Include Ex-Cop, Trash Chief

Raymond McGuire, 64, is backed financially by New York’s elite, from finance to real estate to the entertainment industry. He is the only one of the eight leading candidates not accepting public-matching dollars for his campaign. As of May 21, he had raised the most private funds, $11.7 million, but was the first choice of only 4% in the Fontas poll.

Once the highest-ranking Black Wall Street executive, McGuire co-headed Citigroup Inc.’s investment bank for more than a decade before leaving to run for mayor. Raised in Dayton, Ohio, he moved to New York City after completing his MBA and law degree at Harvard University. He vows to sponsor 50% of salaries for 50,000 small-business workers for one year, rebuild the NYPD and advance career opportunities for youth.

Dianne Morales, the Progressive Public Servant

NYC’s Leading Candidates for Mayor Include Ex-Cop, Trash Chief

Dianne Morales, 53, is a former public school teacher who has spent the past decade as chief executive officer of Phipps Neighborhoods, an antipoverty nonprofit in the Bronx. Her campaign has suffered recently from internal strife, with the departure of her campaign manager and other staffers amid complaints of a toxic workplace. At least one staffer defected to rival Maya Wiley’s campaign.

Morales was born and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, and her parents are from Puerto Rico. She has pledged basic income relief for every household and advocated defunding the police, enacting a citywide rent moratorium, increasing funding for immigrant legal assistance and investing in green jobs.

Scott Stringer, the Auditor

NYC’s Leading Candidates for Mayor Include Ex-Cop, Trash Chief

Scott Stringer, 61, has managed to hang on despite two sexual-harassment claims -- one by a former campaign volunteer from 2001 that cost him a number of major endorsements and a second allegation by a woman who worked as a waitress in 1992 at a restaurant he co-owned. Stringer denies both claims. The United Federation of Teachers endorsed Stringer in April and has stood by him.

Stringer was elected New York City’s comptroller in 2013. His office oversees the $247.2 billion public pension system, audits all agencies, reviews contracts and issues municipal bonds. Born and raised in Washington Heights, he was a state lawmaker for 13 years and also served as Manhattan borough president. Stringer wants to reduce property taxes and invest $400 million in revenue to affordable housing. He’s also campaigning to put $500 million toward building child care facilities in neighborhoods where access is lacking.

Maya Wiley, the Civil-Rights Activist

NYC’s Leading Candidates for Mayor Include Ex-Cop, Trash Chief

Maya Wiley, 57, is a civil-rights lawyer and former MSNBC legal analyst who worked as counsel to de Blasio and also served as his director of women- and minority-owned business enterprises. Wiley’s “New Deal New York” plans to inject $10 billion into the city’s economy and 100,000 jobs. Another major proposal from her campaign is $5,000 annual stipends for 100,000 unpaid, domestic caregivers like stay-at-home moms and single parents.

She has been criticized for her involvement in a conflicts-of-interest scandal in the de Blasio administration, as well as her role as head of the Civilian Complaint Review Board, an NYPD oversight agency that critics say became more secretive during her tenure. On June 5, Wiley’s campaign won a coveted endorsement by U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Andrew Yang, the Name They Know

NYC’s Leading Candidates for Mayor Include Ex-Cop, Trash Chief

Andrew Yang, 46, is an entrepreneur and former U.S. presidential candidate. He led in early polls, but support has dropped as candidates call him an outsider and question his experience. He had been criticized for never voting in a New York City mayoral election, being out of touch with everyday residents, and overstating the impact of a venture nonprofit that failed to deliver the jobs he promised.

Yang is proposing $2,000 annual payments for the poorest New Yorkers, a scaled-back version of the universal basic income plan he campaigned on in 2020. Yang had 13% in the latest Fontas poll, down from 16% in March.

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