After a long and tedious election process, it was made clear Tuesday night that Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams has won the Democratic primary for mayor of New York City, and will be the overwhelming favorite to take over City Hall next year.
Two weeks after New Yorkers filled out their ballots, the New York City Board of Elections released preliminary results showing Adams ahead of former sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia by 8,425 votes, or one percent, in the final round of ranked-choice voting.
Adams, if elected in November, will become the city’s second Black mayor.
“While there are still some very small amounts of votes to be counted, the results are clear: An historic, diverse, five-borough coalition led by working-class New Yorkers has led us to victory in the Democratic primary for mayor of New York City,” said Adams, a former police captain, who ran as a centrist Democrat with public safety at the core of his campaign in its later stages as the city saw a spike in gun violence.
Both Garcia and Maya Wiley, the only two candidates still in the mix with Adams to win after the initial June 22 results, conceded Wednesday morning.
“While it is only by a razor-thin margin, Eric Adams will be the winner of the Democratic primary,” said Garcia, who gave her remarks in front of the Women’s Rights Pioneer Monument at Central Park. “For 400 years, no woman has held the top seat at City Hall. This campaign has come closer than any other moment in history to breaking that glass ceiling in selecting New York City’s first female mayor. We cracked the hell out of it, and it’s ready to be broken, but we have not cracked that glass ceiling.”
Wiley – who spoke outside the Lucerne Hotel on the Upper West Side, which had been a home for homeless New Yorkers during the pandemic as well as a source of great conflict in the neighborhood – had somewhat of a contrasting message to Garcia.
“We did shatter the glass ceiling,” Wiley said among a crowd of supporters. “The glass ceiling that said that women could not be top-tier candidates. The glass ceiling that said women would be discounted. The glass ceiling that we can’t be seen as leaders.”
Though Wiley was frequently at odds Adams during the campaign, she noted the historical significance of his victory in that he will most likely become New York’s second Black mayor.
“That has tremendous meaning for so many New Yorkers, particularly Black and brown ones,” said Wiley.
The primary election also held significance in that it was the city’s first major race under the new ranked-choice voting system, which allows voters to rank up to five candidates on their ballots by preference. After all of the first-choice votes were tallied, Adams did not receive more than 50 percent of the vote, which initiated in essence an automatic runoff determined by the ranked-choice votes.
In each round of the tabulation, the candidate with the fewest first-choice votes was eliminated and their votes were redistributed to the voters’ next choice. Thirteen candidates appeared on the Democratic party line and were eliminated until Garcia and Adams remained. (Wiley was eliminated in the seventh round, trailing Garcia by 12,367). In the end, Adams held on to his initial lead, though it narrowed significantly through the tabulation, receiving 403,333 total votes to Garcia’s 394,907.
Though the one percent margin separating Adams and Garcia is thin, it does exceed the half of one percent at which a manual recount would be triggered under state law.
Adams will have a Republican opponent for the general election in November in Curtis Sliwa, the founder of the vigilante group Guardian Angels; but with registered Democratic voters far outnumbering Republicans in the city, Adams is all but guaranteed to succeed Bill de Blasio.