Kathryn Garcia has moved a short distance from Eric Adams in a pulse-pounding race for New York City mayor after a new count of ranked choice votes wiped out what looked like a commanding lead for the retired police captain and Brooklyn borough president.
Adams led the Democratic Party nomination contest over Garcia, the former head of the sanitation department, 51.1 percent to 48.9 percent, a margin of 15,908 ballots, according to updated figures released by the board. More than 124,000 absentee ballots still need to be processed, which may not be completed until mid-July.
Maya Wiley, the leading progressive candidate, who came in second after the first ballot, dropped to third.
“Even with today’s ranked pick report, we are still waiting for the count of more than 120,000 absentee ballots and we are confident on a path to victory,” Garcia said.
The Democratic nominee will almost certainly win in November’s general election in a city where Democratic voters far outnumber their Republican counterparts.
The contest is being watched closely, not just to see who will try to lead the nation’s largest city in its recovery from a devastating pandemic, but as a high-profile battle between the Democratic party establishment and an emerging progressive wing. .
This year’s contest marks the city’s first time using “ranked choice voting,” where voters had the opportunity to place up to five candidates in order of preference on their ballot. Losing candidates are successively eliminated and their votes are redistributed until only two are left.
After an initial count of the vote on election night last Tuesday, Adams took 28.8 percent of the vote, with Wiley, a former counsel for Mayor Bill de Blasio, at 19.9 percent and Garcia at 17. 8 percent.
Garcia, who would become the city’s first female mayor, presented himself during the campaign as a pragmatist and no-nonsense manager, able to make a cumbersome city bureaucracy function better. She enjoyed a belated burst of support.
Both Garcia and Adams, who would become New York City’s second black mayor, are from the moderate wing of the party. On the key issue of public safety, both have argued against downgrading the police, promising instead to reform the department while also dealing with a sharp increase in shootings.