Kathryn Garcia joins Ray McGuire and Scott Stringer in saying she would build more housing for the lowest-income New Yorkers. It sounds good, but the problem will be how to actually get it done: where does the money specifically come from, how do you overcome political obstacles like opposition from the real estate industry and in Scott Stringer’s case, how do you get policymakers and lawmakers to radically change regulations governing development.
Scott Stringer also takes aim at previous the administration’s focus on “unaffordable affordable housing.”
Eric Adams said he would not hire Mayor Bill de Blasio to work in his administration, but he would seek his advice. Mayor de Blasio is believed to privately support Adams and has lobbied others to support Adams.
Another affordable housing question. Ray McGuire says his one, tangible solution that hasn’t been tried before is building “truly affordable housing.” While Mayor Bill de Blasio did build or preserve housing affordable to the poorest New Yorkers, it was not enough to meet the need, experts say.
Nor, for that matter, did Andrew Yang.
What job would the candidates give Bill de Blasio in their administration? Eric Adams doesn’t answer the question. Neither does Kathryn Garcia, Scott Stringer, Ray McGuire, Maya Wiley, Shaun Donovan, or Dianne Morales. All of them instead said they would not hire him.
More cops on the subway? All but Maya Wiley, Scott Stringer and Dianne Morales raise their hands.
All the candidates would support a longer school day to make up for pandemic-era losses except for Dianne Morales and Scott Stringer.
Youla Duke, 62, said the biggest issue the next mayor should tackle immediately is crime.
“The thing on the subway and the buses with all these different incidents,” she said. “It’s getting to be ridiculous. People are fearful to go on the train and on the bus like me. I walk everywhere I got to go now.”
Ms. Duke, who lives in Flatbush, Brooklyn, said her top choice is Eric Adams, because of his record as a police officer.
“I do love him,” she said. “He wants to work for the community and for the people, and to prevent the gun violence and all this stuff, which is good.”
Asked how she would make New Yorkers safer with her plan to halve the police budget and spend the money on issues like mental health to address public safety, Dianne Morales says the true spending on police is much larger than the official budget and that if the amount of policing correlated with public safety, New York would be “the safest city in the world.”
Scott Stringer dodges question about why he hasn’t advocated for change in police funding while he has been the city’s comptroller.
Dianne Morales is the furthest left on policing among the leading candidates. She has called for cutting $3 billion from the New York Police Department budget and creating responders to deal with issues such as homelessness and mental health crises so that police officers won’t have to.
Shaun Donovan wants to rise above the expected fray and be the adult in the room while talking about his proposals, including equity bonds for poor children, housing and cutting $3 billion from the police and corrections budget for underserved neighborhoods. In spite of his pristine resume, Mr. Donovan has struggled to make an impact on voters, according to available polling.
Eric Adams and Andrew Yang tangle over police union endorsements. Yang claims Adams’s former captains union chose him over Adams out of concerns about his honesty and over his call for people to confront neighbors over fireworks last summer. Adams countered that those captains remember that he was and remains critical of policing tactics.
No ones seems to get under Andrew Yang’s skin more than Eric Adams. Yang just repeatedly accused Adams of lying.
Philip and Rita Harris, both 70 and retired, live three blocks away from the polling place at the Bronx Supreme Court, where they voted on Tuesday. Though both have lived in the Bronx for over 30 years, this is the first time they have voted in a mayoral election.
The couple are fed up with the rise in gun violence, they said, as well as the rate of homelessness and sanitation issues.
“Get the guns off the street,” Mrs. Harris said. “Every time you open the TV,” she said, you see “drive-by shootings.”
“Normally we vote for the president, but this time we said, ‘Let’s come vote for the mayor,’” Mrs. Harris said. “We want something to change. We want New York City to be New York City.”
Maya Wiley has attacked Eric Adams for saying stop and frisk can be used legally and that he would reinstate a plainclothes anticrime unit focused on guns and gangs. Mr. Adams says his background as a police officer gives him the credibility to make sure people’s rights aren’t violated. Wiley has said Adams is trying to go back to a way of policing that hurts minorities.
Asked how she would handle public safety, Maya Wiley pulls out a line that she has used before: “I have been Black all my life.” Ms. Wiley says she knows “what it’s like to fear crime and police violence.”
Kathryn Garcia, asked to convince a recruit to work for the N.Y.P.D., says we can have a police department that keeps people safe and respects people of color. She says it’s personal for her: “My brother is African American.”
Kathryn Garcia was one of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s senior cabinet members until last fall, when she left her job as the city’s sanitation commissioner to prepare for her campaign for mayor.
Ms. Garcia, 51, had never sought elected office before, but she has an extensive city government résumé and developed a reputation as a go-to problem solver. She has campaigned on that experience and her knowledge of city government, hoping it would resonate with voters.
After flying under the radar, Ms. Garcia’s campaign began to pick up steam in recent weeks, particularly after endorsements from the editorial boards of The New York Times and The Daily News.
The wider name recognition has brought more attention to her policy positions and track record at the Sanitation Department, where she oversaw programs that are vital to making New York function, including trash collection and snow removal.
But as she has gained more support, she has also faced more attacks from her rivals that were absent during the earlier phases of the campaign, including criticism this week from Eric Adams regarding allegations that women and minority workers at the Sanitation Department received unequal pay, a charge Ms. Garcia said was “mudslinging.”
Scott M. Stringer, the city comptroller, has worked in and around politics and government for decades. He served on a community planning board as a teenager and rose steadily through New York City’s Democratic ranks from there.
Mr. Stringer, 61, has cast himself as both a progressive candidate and a seasoned government veteran who is prepared to “manage the hell out of the city” from his first day as mayor.
His bid has been complicated by two allegations of unwanted sexual advances from decades ago, both of which he has denied. A number of progressive officials who had endorsed him no longer do, but he has retained some support from labor groups, most notably the teachers’ union.
Shaun Donovan, also asked about a rent freeze, gets a chance, finally, to tout his housing background as housing secretary under President Barack Obama. He was also a former city housing commissioner.
The opening debate questions focus on hypothetical scenarios centered around the real effects of crime on the city’s recovery. One was about a family skeptical of returning to the city and another on a biotech company considering leaving and taking its 1,000 employees. Many real families and real businesses are making similar decisions.
Dianne Morales starts her elevator pitch for why families who left during the pandemic should return to the city by speaking in Spanish. Latinos are one of the most important voting groups and candidates have begun spending heavily on Spanish media in the last few weeks.
Shaun Donovan, a self-described housing nerd, was the federal housing secretary under President Barack Obama and New York City’s housing commissioner under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.
Mr. Donovan, 55, has proposed creating 30,000 affordable housing units per year, investing $2 billion in repairs to the city’s existing housing stock and ensuring that every New Yorker lives within a 15-minute walk of school, health care and coffee shops. He has also vowed to create the city’s first-ever chief equity officer and to give every child $1,000 at birth.
He wants to significantly reduce the number of police and to appoint a police commissioner of color. He also says that he wants state lawmakers to pass legislation that would enable most convictions to be automatically removed from a person’s record after a certain period of time.
The first substantive question about affordable housing in any of the debates goes to Eric Adams, who says a mortgage freeze should come with any possible rent freeze. Many small property owners have been struggling during the pandemic without rental income.
Eric Adams is among the most politically seasoned candidates in the race: Before being elected to his current job as Brooklyn borough president in 2013, he spent six years in the New York State Senate. He began his career in the Police Department, rising to captain while pushing for reform as a result of his own experience being beaten by officers as a teenager.
Mr. Adams, 60, has run as a political moderate, opposing calls to defund the police while proposing to publicly identify officers whom the Police Department is monitoring for bad behavior. Other elements of his platform include giving New Yorkers real-time ratings for how government agencies perform, appointing an “efficiency czar” and using drones to perform building inspections.
Some of Mr. Adams’s critics claim that he is too cozy with real estate interests, and they have noted that he was a registered Republican from 1995 to 2002.
He has also faced several ethics investigations, including one that found he violated conflict-of-interest rules by soliciting money for a nonprofit organization he controls from donors who had business with the city. His opponents have also questioned whether he lives part-time in New Jersey, which, if true, would not render him ineligible as a candidate but, they say, would underline questions about his transparency as a politician.
The moderators’ questions so far are tacitly targeting candidates’ perceived weakness. Maya Wiley got an economic development question. Andrew Yang got a leaving-the-city question.
Maya Wiley mentions the growing tech sector in New York City, one of the few industries to expand with new office leases in Manhattan during the pandemic. The city has become a major tech hub on the East Coast.
Raymond J. McGuire, one of the longest-serving and highest-ranking Black executives on Wall Street, is running for political office for the first time.
Mr. McGuire, 64, is a former Citigroup vice chairman, and his campaign has garnered support from business leaders who believe his experience managing billion-dollar transactions would help New York recover from the economic problems created by the coronavirus pandemic.
He is a political moderate who has issued plans for creating 500,000 jobs and reducing the cost of construction in the city so that 350,000 new units of housing can be built in the next eight years. He opposes the movement to defund the police, but he has also said that as a 6-foot-4-inch Black man he could “easily be the next George Floyd.”
Mr. McGuire has said he will appoint a deputy mayor for public safety and create a citywide emergency social services network to respond to mental health and substance abuse calls.
By mentioning the endorsement he received from a union representing police captains, Yang showed right off the bat where he wants to keep the focus tonight: on the idea that he can challenge Adams on public safety.
Maya D. Wiley is a civil rights lawyer and former MSNBC analyst who was counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio and chair of the Civilian Complaint Review Board during his first term.
As a candidate, she has promoted a $10 billion “New Deal New York” plan that she says would create 100,000 jobs, finance public works and climate-related projects, create 10,000 affordable housing units and pay for the hiring of 2,500 new teachers.
Ms. Wiley, 57, has also pledged to redirect money from the Police Department to community-based groups to tailor their own violence-prevention programs, and to hire a civilian as police commissioner.
She has attracted support from liberal groups and in recent weeks has picked up a number of endorsements from progressive lawmakers and organizations, particularly as other left-leaning candidates have stumbled.
But Ms. Wiley has also been criticized for her stewardship of the review board, a police-oversight agency that some people have said became too secretive in its disciplinary procedures on her watch.
Ms. Wiley has also come under fire for creating a special designation — “agents of the city” — for Mr. de Blasio’s outside advisers during her tenure as counsel. The designation allowed the mayor for a time to keep his communications with those advisers confidential.
Beginning with a pointed question, Melissa Russo asks Andrew Yang how he would convince families to come back to New York City. He famously left the city during parts of the pandemic.
Dianne Morales is a former nonprofit executive who led Phipps Neighborhoods, the social services arm of the affordable housing developer Phipps Houses. If she were to win, she would be the city’s first Afro-Latina mayor.
Ms. Morales, 53, is campaigning on a progressive platform, with a strong emphasis on defunding the police by cutting the department’s $6 billion budget in half and reallocating the money to social programs.
She has also proposed plans for integrating the city’s schools and redirecting tax subsidies and incentives from large companies to small and midsize businesses. She has also called for redirecting tax incentives for developers in ways that make the construction of affordable housing a priority.
A single mother of two, Ms. Morales was born and raised in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant section and she worked at the Department of Education before joining Phipps Neighborhoods.
Although she attracted substantial support from progressives early on, Ms. Morales has lost much of it over the last few weeks after several of her top advisers quit over allegations of abuse within her campaign staff, and after she clashed repeatedly with other members of her staff who are attempting to unionize.
While she has not cracked the top tier of candidates, she says that she has attracted significant support from middle- and working-class New Yorkers: The average contribution to her campaign is $47, and Ms. Morales has said a third of her donors are unemployed.
Andrew Yang speaks first at the debate and says crime is the top issue in the race and mentions his recent endorsement from the union that represents police captains.
Andrew Yang, who has a background in nonprofit management, rose to prominence last year as a presidential candidate with a platform that focused on providing a universal basic income to Americans.
Although he ranked low in the polls, Mr. Yang, 46, outlasted several candidates with more political experience. He ended the race with high name recognition and a national profile.
Before running for president, Mr. Yang had a mixed record as an entrepreneur. He has also been criticized for his lack of involvement in city politics before this year’s race — he has never voted in a mayoral election — and for his reliance on an outside consulting firm with ties to former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.
Mr. Yang has positioned himself as New York City’s chief cheerleader, running for mayor as an optimistic government outsider. As the race has entered its final weeks and he has fallen behind other candidates in recent polling, he has occasionally painted a darker picture of the city, in part to convince residents not to vote for contenders that he casts as status quo operators.
Mr. Yang has also sought to portray himself as the anti-poverty candidate, drawing from his presidential campaign’s best-known idea to propose giving about $2,000 a year to the poorest New Yorkers.
During the first three debates among the leading Democratic candidates for mayor, the climate crisis — and the city’s response to it — did not come up once. That is a glaring gap two years after the city declared a climate emergency, especially for young voters, who will bear the brunt of rising seas, intensifying storms and extreme temperatures.
Tonight is the candidates’ last chance to tackle the issue in a debate, and several seem poised to jump on the issue if it comes up.
Scott M. Stringer, the city comptroller, had called for a debate focused solely on climate. And two candidates surging in the campaign’s last week, Maya Wiley and Kathryn Garcia, physically bounced with enthusiasm as they declared, in separate interviews, that debating the issue was necessary and urgent.
Advocates have posted questions on social media. I did too.
Ms. Wiley, a former counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Ms. Garcia, the former sanitation commissioner, have campaigned hard on climate and the environment. The issue could help them peel off supporters from the apparent front-runner, Eric Adams, the Brooklyn Borough President, and to distinguish themselves from one another in the quest for progressive votes.
Activists fighting climate change and environmental racism, a motivated group of left-leaning Democratic voters, have seen their mayoral choices scrambled by scandal. Early in the race, they appeared split between Mr. Stringer, whose detailed plan tracks the activists’ wish lists, and Dianne Morales, a nonprofit executive who appealed to younger progressives. But Mr. Stringer faltered over sexual harassment allegations, and Ms. Morales faced a campaign-management meltdown.
Several major groups are now backing Ms. Wiley. She won the coveted nod from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, embracing the Green New Deal that the New York lawmaker champions. Ms. Wiley’s Community First Climate Action Plan is much like Mr. Stringer’s, with sweeping, coordinated policies to protect the city’s coastline and stop new construction of infrastructure relying on natural gas and other fossil fuels.
Ms. Garcia, who is more of a centrist, calls herself the climate candidate with the experience to make her proposals a reality. Her climate plan centers on expanding popular programs like curbside compost pickup and green roofs. She said she would phase out natural-gas infrastructure but opposes an immediate halt, saying New York is not ready.
Mr. Adams and Andrew Yang also have laid out climate policies, with Mr. Adams roughly tracking Ms. Wiley’s stances and Mr. Yang closer to Ms. Garcia’s. But both have made public safety a much higher priority than climate.
Kathryn Garcia, standing in front of one of the city’s oldest gay bars to discuss her position on L.G.B.T.Q. issues, said on Wednesday that she would stick to the strategy at tonight’s debate that she has been employing all along: staying above the fray and focusing on her platform.
“This is working,” Ms. Garcia said outside Julius’, a bar in the West Village. “Why would I change it?”
Over the last month, Ms. Garcia has seen her support climb, and recent polls have suggested she may be one of the front-runners in the race.
But she has not had a breakout moment in previous debates, during which she avoided attacking other candidates and focused on reminding voters that she secured endorsements from major newspaper editorial boards.
During Wednesday’s news conference, Ms. Garcia deflected questions about other candidates.
“I know that when politicians fight each other, we all get hurt,” she said.
The appearance at Julius’ was meant to promote Ms. Garcia’s platform on L.G.B.T.Q. issues, which she released at the start of June, Pride Month.
On Wednesday, she announced plans to create a mayor’s office for L.G.B.T.Q.+ affairs that would coordinate across agencies to help residents find inclusive housing, education, health care and foster care services.
Paperboy Prince, a Brooklyn rapper and artist and one of the candidates who will be on the ballot in Tuesday’s primary, is holding a small sidewalk concert — and supporters from a number of campaigns have stopped to watch. He’s promoting his message of “housing for all” and “healthcare for all,” and encouraging people to get to the polls. He is not participating in the debate tonight.
Speaking to reporters after voting this morning, Andrew Yang stated the obvious — he voted for himself — but wouldn’t divulge what other candidates he listed under the city’s new ranked-choice voting system. But he did hint that he might form an alliance with another candidate and make a cross-endorsement.
“I do like and admire several of the other candidates in the field,” he said, “and I do hope that we have an opportunity to make a shared case to New Yorkers about what kind of leadership that we should have in the city,.”
Mr. Yang, who rode a Citi Bike to his early voting site on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, has received criticism for not voting in past mayoral elections. He said he decided to vote early to avoid long lines on Election Day and to get out the message that New Yorkers can vote now.
Mr. Yang said he planned to target Eric Adams, the front-runner, during the final debate tonight and highlighted his recent endorsement by the Captains Endowment Association, the union that represents police captains. Mr. Adams is a former police captain.
“All he’s been talking about is crime and public safety,” Mr. Yang said. “Meanwhile, the people that we will actually be relying on to help deliver public safety for the city who know him best decided to endorse me.”
Mr. Yang argued that their support showed that he was the strongest candidate on public safety.
“If you are a New Yorker who is voting on this issue,” he said, “this should tell you all you need to know.”
Tonight’s two-hour debate will be moderated by four veteran journalists with decades of experience covering local government and a variety of national news stories: David Ushery, an anchor at WNBC; Melissa Russo, WNBC’s government affairs reporter; Allan Villafaña, an anchor at Telemundo 47; and Sally Goldenberg, Politico New York’s City Hall bureau chief.
Mr. Ushery, an anchor on the 4 p.m. and 11 p.m. editions of News 4 New York, joined WNBC in 2013 and has covered several big news stories, including the unrest following the murder of George Floyd and the 2012 mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. He joined WNBC from WABC, where he was a reporter and an anchor.
Ms. Russo joined WNBC in 1998 and has covered four New York City mayors and dozens of elections. She has also pursued a variety of stories as part of WNBC’s investigative team, including recent exposés on the lack of protective gear at a nonprofit serving adults with disabilities during the pandemic and a rat infestation at a public housing day camp.
Mr. Villafaña, who joined Telemundo in 2012, is a news anchor for Noticiero 47 Telemundo. He appears on the station’s Primera Edición broadcast, from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m., during the week, as well as its noon broadcast, Al Mediodía. He also hosts a weekend program on public affairs, Focus New York, which airs on Sundays at 8 a.m.
Ms. Goldenberg joined the City Hall team at Politico in 2013 to cover the administration of Bill de Blasio. Before that, she worked at The New York Post, covering Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City Council. She also worked for The Staten Island Advance from 2005 to 2008 and The New Jersey Star-Ledger from 2002 to 2005.
The moderators are likely to have a challenge ahead of them: All eight leading Democratic candidates will participate tonight. The last time they were onstage together, on June 2, the debate devolved into a chaotic, tumultuous two hours in which the candidates talked over each other and repeated talking points they’d delivered before.
The debate, which is being held at NBC’s headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, will be hosted by WNBC and co-hosted by Telemundo 47, Politico, the Citizens Budget Commission and the New York Urban League.
A Kathryn Garcia supporter tells me that Ms. Garcia showed up and greeted her supporters already, which accounts for her small crowd outside. This means all eight candidates in tonight’s debate are inside and getting ready. We will have more analysis from more Times journalists as the night unfolds.
Andrew Yang is here, and is swarmed by supporters and the news media before being escorted inside. The speakers on Eric Adams’s pickup were cranked up when Yang arrived.
For the first time in a mayor’s race, New York City will use a system called ranked-choice voting.
Now, instead of picking just one candidate, voters can rank up to five, in order of preference, from a primary ballot that will include 13 Democrats. That part is easy, even if it presumes voters will know enough about the candidates to rank five of them.
The next part is a bit more complicated. The Board of Elections will collect all the ballots and then tabulate the votes. If no candidates gets more than 50 percent of the vote, the board will eliminate the last-place finisher. Those voters whose first choice was eliminated will have their second choice vote counted instead, and allocated to the remaining candidates. The process continues until there is a winner.
The same system will be operative for all city elections, including for seats in the New York City Council and the offices of the borough presidents, the public advocate and the New York City comptroller.
Proponents of the system argue that it gives voters more of a say in the leadership of their city, among other benefits.
“One of the many benefits to ranked-choice voting is that it negates the need for multimillion dollar runoff elections, which usually take place 2-3 weeks later,” said Susan Lerner, the executive director of Common Cause/NY, a good government group, in a recent statement.
But critics, including Eric Adams, the Brooklyn Borough President who is the presumed front-runner, have argued the system is bewilderingly complex.
“From my discussions with New Yorkers in lower-income communities of color,” Mr. Adams said last year, “I am concerned that not enough education has been done about rank-choice voting to ensure a smooth transition to that method so soon.”