Last Debate for NYC Mayoral Candidates Held; Early Voting Ongoing

NEW YORK (AP) -
A man wearing a protective mask is seen during  early voting for the New York mayoral primary election at John Jay College in Manhattan, June 13. (Reuters/Jeenah Moon

The candidates running in the Democratic primary to be New York City’s next mayor made their pitches to voters in the final debate on Wednesday, even as early voting has begun.

As in prior debates, the candidates were asked about a rise in violent crime and other issues that impact the city’s recovery from the pandemic. And also like other debates, the candidates at times sent pointed comments toward each other.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang had a strident back-and-forth after Yang brought up an endorsement from the Captains Endowment Association, pointing out that they chose him over Adams, a former police officer.

“The people who worked with him for years, who know him best. They just endorsed me,” Yang said.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer later criticized Yang after he answered a question about homelessness by talking about increasing the number of psych beds. Stringer interjected to call it “the greatest non-answer I’ve heard of all of our debates.”

The candidates also included Kathryn Garcia, a former city sanitation commissioner, civil rights attorney Maya Wiley, former Citigroup executive Ray McGuire, former Obama housing secretary Shaun Donovan and former nonprofit executive Dianne Morales.

The primary election to replace term-limited Mayor Bill de Blasio is on June 22. Early voting began June 12 and runs through June 20.

The candidates were asked what were the worst ideas they had heard from another candidate, with McGuire saying he thought it was calls to defund the police, which he said Black and brown communities don’t support.

Morales vociferously pushed back. “How dare you assume you can speak for Black and brown communities as a monolith,” she said.

New York City is using ranked choice voting in this election. Voters can pick up to five candidates and rank them. A candidate can still win even after trailing in an initial round, if enough people select them as their second choice.