Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams has won the Democratic nomination for New York mayor on Tuesday, poised to become the next leader of America’s largest city.
A former police captain, Adams would be the city’s second Black mayor if elected.
He triumphed over a large Democratic field in New York’s first major race to use ranked choice voting. Results from the latest tabulations released on Tuesday showed him leading former city sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia by 8,426 votes, or a little more than 1 percentage point.
“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,” Adams said in a statement.
He said he was running to “deliver on the promise of this great city for those who are struggling, who are underserved, and who are committed to a safe, fair, affordable future for all New Yorkers.”
Adams will be the prohibitive favourite in the general election against Curtis Sliwa, the Republican founder of the Guardian Angels. Democrats outnumber Republicans 7-to-1 in New York City.
Adams’ closest vanquished Democratic rivals included Garcia, who campaigned as a technocrat and proven problem-solver, and former City Hall legal advisor Maya Wiley, who had progressive support including an endorsement from US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Andrew Yang, the 2020 presidential candidate known for his proposed universal basic income, was an early favourite but faded in the race.
Voting in the primary ended 22 June.
Adams, Garcia and Wiley all filed lawsuits last week seeking the right to review the ranked choice tally.
Wiley said in a statement on Tuesday that the board “must be completely remade following what can only be described as a debacle.” As for herself, she said her campaign would have more to say soon about “next steps.”
Garcia’s campaign issued no immediate response to Tuesday’s vote tally, but said she would be making a statement Wednesday morning.
Adams, 60, is a moderate Democrat who opposed the “defund the police” movement.
“If Black lives really matter, it can’t only be against police abuse. It has to be against the violence that’s ripping apart our communities,” he told supporters the night of the primary.
But Adams is a study in contradictions who at different times has been a defender of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, a registered Republican and a Democratic state senator thriving in a world of backroom deals.
Adams speaks frequently of his dual identity as a 22-year police veteran and a Black man who endured police brutality himself as a teenager. He said he was beaten by officers at age 15.
While in the police department, he co-founded 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, a group that campaigned for criminal justice reform and against racial profiling.
After winning a state Senate seat from Brooklyn in 2006, Adams made an impression with an impassioned speech favoring same-sex marriage rights in 2009, two years before New York’s state legislators passed a marriage equality bill.
Adams was elected in 2013 as Brooklyn borough president, his current job.
Adams is a vegan who credits a plant-based diet with reversing his diabetes. He has a 25-year-old son, Jordan Coleman, with a former girlfriend.
His current partner is Tracey Collins, an educator who holds an administrative job in the city’s public school system.
Adams can be a charismatic speaker but has also made cringe-worthy utterances, such as his 1993 suggestion that Herman Badillo, a Puerto Rican-born politician, should have married a Latina instead of a white, Jewish woman.
Speaking at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event last year, Adams complained about gentrifiers moving to the city from elsewhere.
“Go back to Iowa. You go back to Ohio,” Adams said. “New York City belongs to the people that were here and made New York City what it is.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, was barred by the city charter from seeking a third term.