NEW YORK – (AP) – Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams appeared to take a shaky lead Tuesday in the Democratic New York mayor’s primary, but it could be weeks before he does become clear who is really on top of the first city-wide election to use ranked choice voting.
As the counting of the ballots began on Tuesday, a plurality of Democrats ranked Adams as their first choice in the race.
It was difficult to say, however, whether this lead would hold up. Up to 207,500 postal ballots remained to be counted. The full ranking of candidates by voters has not yet been taken into account. It could be in July before a winner emerges in the Democratic contest.
Adams, a former police captain who co-founded a leadership group for black officers, headed former city sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia and former Blasio administration lawyer Maya Wiley.
Addressing cheering fans, Adams admitted that he had yet to win and that under the ranked pick system there were still several rounds of counting left.
âWe know there are going to be two and three and four,â he said. âBut there’s something else we know. We know New York City said, ‘Our top pick is Eric Adams.’
Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who was far behind in early returns, conceded around two hours after the polls closed and pledged to work with the next mayor.
In the Republican primary, Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa defeated businessman Fernando Mateo. Ranked choice voting was not a factor as there were only two candidates in the race.
Several candidates running to succeed Mayor Bill de Blasio have the potential to make history if elected. The city could have its first female mayor, or his second black mayor, depending on who comes out on top.
But in the Democratic contest, the initial picture could be misleading. After the closing of the polling stations at 9 p.m., The New York City Council of Elections began publishing the results of in-person votes cast, but feedback focused on candidates ranked as the top pick.
The ranked choice system, approved for use in New York City’s 2019 referendum primary and special elections, allowed voters to rank up to five candidates on their ballot.
The tabulation of the votes is then done by computerized rounds, the person in last place being eliminated in each round, and the ballots cast for this person being redistributed to the surviving candidates according to the classification of the voters. This process continues until there are only two candidates left. Whoever has the most votes wins.
It is only on June 29 that the Election Council will count these votes using the new system. He will not include any postal ballots in his analysis until July 6, which makes any tally before that date potentially unreliable.
Among the votes counted on election night, Adams was following Garcia and Wiley as voters entered their second, third and fourth choices in the ranked choice voting system.
Besides Adams, Garcia, Wiley and Yang, other contenders for the Democratic contest included the city comptroller Scott Stringer, former US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, old citigroup framework Ray mcguire and association leader Diane Morales.
Stringer, McGuire and Morales spoke to supporters after the polls closed, as early results showed them lagging behind the first, but did not immediately concede.
De Blasio, a Democrat, is stepping down at the end of the year due to term limits.
The candidates toured the city on Tuesday for a final campaign tour.
Wiley lost his voice as he greeted voters near his polling station in Brooklyn. Garcia campaigned in the Bronx, while Sliwa and Stringer crossed paths campaigning in Manhattan.
A still hoarse Wiley acknowledged the uncertainty of the race in a speech later. âWhat we are celebrating today is that we have a way,â she said.
Garcia told his supporters: “I know we won’t know much more tonight, so I want to thank everyone who is here and everyone who has been a part of this trip.”
Concern about an increase in shootings during the pandemic has dominated the mayoral campaign in recent months, even as candidates grappled with demands from the left for more police reform.
As a former officer but spent his career fighting racism within the department, Adams has perhaps benefited the most from the police debate.
He denounced the slogan “finance the police” and offered to reinstate a disbanded plainclothes unit to focus on removing illegal firearms from the streets.
Wiley and Stringer, fighting for progressive votes, have both said they will reallocate some of the police department’s budget to other programs in the city.
Among the main candidates, Garcia or Wiley would be the city’s first female mayor if elected. Adams or Wiley would be the second black mayor.
Yang and Garcia formed an alliance in the final days of the campaign in an apparent effort to use the ranked voting system to block Adams. The two staged several joint campaign events, with Yang asking his supporters to rank Garcia as their No.2 – though Garcia didn’t quite reciprocate, not telling his constituents where to rank Yang. Adams accused his two rivals of intentionally trying to block a black candidate.
Sliwa doesn’t have much of a chance of winning the November general election in a city where the registered Democrats are 7-1.
Former allies, the two Republicans Sliwa and Mateo exchanged personal insults and tried to argue during a debate on Zoom.
Sliwa, a radio host who still wears his red beret of the guardian angels when appearing in public, has obtained the approval of former mayor Rudy Giuliani, who called him “my great friend” on a robocall to Republican voters.
Flanked by Giuliani on his victory party, Sliwa pledged a general election campaign focused on crime. “This will clearly be a campaign where I talk about fighting crime, supporting the police, paying our heroes back to the police, hiring more police, removing the handcuffs from the police and putting them on the criminals. , and to restore qualified immunity to the police so that they cannot be personally prosecuted, âhe said.
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