Brooklyn Borough president Eric Adams became the uncontested Democratic nominee for New York City mayor after his two closest rivals conceded on Wednesday, putting him in position to become the next leader of the most populous US city.
Former New York City sanitation chief Kathryn Garcia and civil rights lawyer Maya Wiley both congratulated Mr Adams on his victory after concluding they could not overcome the narrow lead he maintained following Tuesday's release of new vote totals from the June 22nd primary.
Mr Adams (60), a black former police captain who put public safety at the heart of his campaign, is heavily favoured in November's election against Republican nominee Curtis Sliwa, the founder of the civilian patrol Guardian Angels. Democratic voters outnumber Republicans in the city by more than a six-to-one margin.
The next mayor will oversee a steep recovery from the coronavirus pandemic while also confronting deep-seated issues such as wealth inequality, a lack of affordable housing, struggling public schools and concerns over public safety.
"There's a real message, I believe, for the entire country," Mr Adams said on CNN on Wednesday. "I think the Democratic Party in particular, they're ready for real change for everyday working-class Americans."
Ms Garcia (51), who ran as a technocrat based on her long service in city government, made brief remarks at the Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument in Central Park on Wednesday.
“For 400 years, no woman has held the top seat at City Hall,” she said. “This campaign has come closer than any other moment in history to breaking that glass ceiling and selecting New York City’s first female mayor. We cracked the hell out of it, and it’s ready to be broken.”
Ms Wiley (57), who emerged as the leading liberal candidate, noted the historic nature of Mr Adams’s victory.
“Let’s be clear: this is only the second time a black New Yorker has been elected mayor of this city, and that has tremendous meaning for so many New Yorkers, particularly black people,” said Ms Wiley, who is also black.
Mr Adams’s election as mayor will not be confirmed, however, before November’s contest against the Republican candidate, Mr Sliwa.
The incumbent mayor, Democrat Bill de Blasio, was unable to run for re-election due to term limits.
The Democratic primary final results came one week after the New York’s Board of Elections – which has faced accusations of mismanagement for years – botched its initial tabulation of ranked-choice ballots, posting and then removing erroneous totals after mistakenly including test ballots.
The election offered an early look at how national Democrats may approach the fraught issue of policing in next year’s congressional elections.
Mr Adams centred his campaign on improving public safety. Decrying the “defund the police” movement that has gained traction among some liberals, the moderate Mr Adams sought to strike a balance between addressing rising crime rates and eliminating racial bias from the department.
Ms Wiley proposed cutting one-sixth of the city’s police budget in order to fund mental-health support and other social services. – Reuters