Brooklyn Borough President and former New York police captain Eric Adams was leading in the first round of counting in the city’s Democratic mayoral primary after a campaign focused on law enforcement. The campaign’s early front-runner Andrew Yang conceded defeat.
With almost three-fourths of the precincts reporting Tuesday, Adams had about 31% of the vote, followed by former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia and civil rights lawyer Maya Wiley with about 21% each. Yang, who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, trailed with about 12%.
Tuesday’s results reflect only the initial round of voting in New York City’s ranked-choice voting system. Voters chose their top five candidates in order of preference. Because of an influx of absentee ballots and a complex counting system, the final winner may not be known until mid-July.
Voters’ second-choice picks could be key to the final results. That’s because candidates who come in last are eliminated, and their voters’ second choices get distributed as if they were top picks to other candidates.
Come-from-behind winners have happened just 15 times over 375 ranked-choice elections in the U.S. since 2004, according to data compiled by advocacy group Fair Vote. Of those, the second-place candidate won 13 times and the third-place candidate twice.
That was the strategy behind Garcia’s decision to campaign with Yang in the final days of the campaign, forming a pact that could reap votes for her in Asian-American communities and among ardent supporters of Yang.
In the Republican primary, Curtis Sliwa, founder of the red beret-wearing Guardian Angels, defeated restaurateur Fernando Mateo to become the GOP nominee. He faces extremely long odds in the overwhelmingly Democratic city.
That means that whomever Democratic voters choose as their nominee will likely go on to be the first woman or the second Black man to hold the office shared by 109 predecessors.
Crime and inequality were the main issues in the last few weeks of campaigning. Voters said while standing in line on a stormy day that street and subway crime made them feel like they were in a 1980s rerun. Yet many also expressed hope that the resident of Gracie Mansion would better reflect the ethnic melting pot of the U.S.’s most populous city.
“I’m conceding this race,” Yang, the tech entrepreneur, told supporters. “I’m a numbers guy, I’m someone who traffics in what happens in the numbers, and I am not going to be New York City mayor.”