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Who's running for New York City mayor in the Democratic primary

Published by Business Insider on Tue, 08 Jun 2021


<p><img class="lead-image-large" src="https://static5.businessinsider.com/image/60b97ceb93c6fa00195e5120-2400/nyc mayor democractic primary candidates 2x1.jpg" border="0" alt="From left: Shaun Donovan, Andrew Yang, Ray McGuire, Kathryn Garcia, Eric Adams, and Maya Wiley with New York City's skyline tint blue in the background." data-mce-source="Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images; David Dee Delgado/Getty Images; Spencer Platt/Getty Images; Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images; Samantha Lee/Insider"></p><p></p><bi-shortcode id="summary-shortcode" data-type="summary-shortcode" class="mceNonEditable" contenteditable="false">Summary List Placement</bi-shortcode><p>As Mayor Bill de Blasio gets closer to his 2022 term limit, the competition for his successor will effectively be decided with the June 22 Democratic primary.</p><p>Democrats outnumber the GOP by roughly three to one across the five boroughs, and there are <a href="https://spectrumlocalnews.com/nys/central-ny/ny-state-of-politics/2020/11/02/independents-outnumber-republicans-in-new-york">more independent voters than there are registered Republicans</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>The Democratic primary campaign has been crowded and dominated by Zoom forums for months, but May saw a sharp uptick in both in-person campaigning and negative attacks.&nbsp;</p><p>Public polling has been limited, with New York's three top college pollstersSiena, Quinnipiac, and Maristsitting out the race. Most public and private polls have shown former presidential candidate Andrew Yang and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams jockeying for the top two spots, with former NYC Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia surging into the top three ever since she picked up endorsements from The New York Times and New York Daily News.</p><p>Ranked choice voting will make its debut in the primary, and the winner may not be finalized for days or weeks after voting ends.</p><h2>Andrew Yang&nbsp;</h2><p><img src="https://static3.businessinsider.com/image/609a47e6342837001822ca8e-2000/Andrew Yang .jpg" border="0" alt="Andrew Yang " data-mce-source="AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File" data-mce-caption="In this March 11, 2021 file photo, Democratic mayoral candidate Andrew Yang holds a news conference in the Dumbo neighborhood of New York."></p><p><strong>Bio: </strong>The son of Taiwanese immigrants and born in Schenectady, New York, Andrew Yang grew up in the New York City suburb of Somers when his father took a job at IBM. Yang graduated high school from Philips Exeter Academy in 1992 and with a bachelor's degree in economics and political science from Brown University in 1996. After a brief stint at the prestigious Davis, Polk &amp; Wardwell law firm following his J.D. from Columbia University, Yang pivoted to philanthropy and entrepreneurship. His biggest break came in 2009, when his GMAT test prep company, Manhattan Prep, was sold to Kaplan. His last work in the private sector came as chief executive officer of Venture for America, a tech startup incubator modeled after Teach for America. Yang rose to national prominence during his 2020 Democratic presidential campaign, where he outlasted established rivals before dropping out after the New Hampshire primary.</p><p><strong>Policies and campaign promises: </strong>Yang, 46, has a direct cash payment program in his mayoral platform, but it is not as sprawling as his presidential bid's focus on Universal Basic Income. In addition to giving $2,000 per year to families living in "extreme poverty," Yang would establish a People's Bank, and "reorganize the NYPD" by appointing a deputy mayor for public and community safety.</p><p><strong>Controversies and notable items: </strong>Since launching his mayoral campaign, Yang has been under much heavier scrutiny than he faced while running for president. Rivals have argued he is not serious and has too little experience at the local level. While Yang has been dunked on for perceived gaffes on social media, nothing so far has made a significant dent in his polling numbers. Progressive activists have also focused on the role of the Tusk Strategies consulting firm in the Yang campaign, particularly given the scope of city regulation on Tusk clients, prompting fears of a "<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/06/nyregion/bradley-tusk-andrew-yang-mayor-nyc.html">shadow mayor</a>."&nbsp;Founder and CEO <a href="https://bradleytusk.medium.com/should-we-win-58c2353648c">Bradley Tusk penned a memo detailing where he would draw the line</a> on a variety of potential conflict of interest issues.</p><h2>Eric Adams</h2><p><img src="https://static1.businessinsider.com/image/60b7b0adbee0fc0019d5adf7-2400/eric-adams-young-white-affluent-people-defund-the-police.jpg" border="0" alt="eric adams young white affluent people defund the police" data-mce-source="Andrew Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images" data-mce-caption="Brooklyn Borough President and Democratic New York City mayoral candidate Eric Adams."></p><p><strong>Bio:&nbsp;</strong>Born in Brownsville, Brooklyn, Eric Adams is the first Black Brooklyn Borough President in city history. He graduated from Queens' Bayside High School in 1978, then got an associate's degree from New York City College of Technology, where he discovered he had dyslexia. He also holds a bachelor's degree from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a master's of public administration from Marist College. Adams was beaten in an NYPD precinct as a 12-year-old. Officers kicked Adams "in the groin repeatedly" after he was brought to the station for a criminal trespassing charge, according to his account of the incident in a 2014 essay. Still, he later enlisted as an officer with hopes of reforming the department from the inside. He spent 22 years in uniform before serving in the state Senate from 2006 to 2013.</p><p><strong>Policies and campaign promises:&nbsp;</strong>Adams, 60, is running on a moderate law-and-order platform touting his governmental and police experience. He has been adamantly against the notion of "defund the police," and has focused his campaign messaging on outer borough Black voters, labor unions, and other key constituencies. He has promised to close the city's multi-billion dollar budget gap without any cuts to social services, and to take an "aggressive" approach to affordable housing by renovating aging buildings and "up-zoning" in wealthier neighborhoods.</p><p><strong>Controversy and notable items: </strong>With a long record in state and local politics, Adams has a few common points of attack from opponents. The most hyper-local one is his practice of issuing parking placards for borough employees. Placards allow driversmost often city employeesto avoid getting a ticket for parking illegally. <a href="https://www.brooklynpaper.com/yang-adams-feud-over-placard-abuse/">Yang rolled out an entire parking placard reform plan</a> in a not-so-subtle dig at Adams. The issue has been a sore spot for Adams among some constituents, and he <a href="https://www.brooklynpaper.com/borough-president-adams-if-everyone-else-can-park-illegally-i-can-too/">bristled at criticism in a public meeting over not intervening in his employees using them</a> to illegally park their cars. The other major area of attack, also seized upon by Yang, is how Adams, in his role as borough president, allegedly failed to disclose donations from developers and others with business interests under the city's <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/program">matching public funds program</a>, according to a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/16/nyregion/eric-adams-fund-raising.html">New York Times investigation</a>.</p><h2>Kathryn Garcia</h2><p><img src="https://static3.businessinsider.com/image/60b7b21202ac410018f93e02-2400/kathryn garcia 01:getty images.jpg" border="0" alt="kathryn garcia 01:getty images" data-mce-source="Spencer Platt/Getty Images" data-mce-caption="Democratic New York City mayoral candidate Kathryn Garcia"></p><p><strong>Bio: </strong>A native New Yorker and Stuyvesant High School graduate who earned a bachelor's degree in economics and history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Kathryn Garcia has a wealth of experience in city government. Garcia, 51, began her career as an intern with the Department of Sanitation in the early 1990s and later became chief operating officer of the Department of Environmental Protection. In her role at Environmental Protection, she ran its three main divisionsthe Bureaus of Water Supply, Water and Sewer operations, and Wastewater Treatmentwhich together have roughly 6,000 employees. In 2014, Garcia became sanitation commissioner, overseeing garbage and recycling collection, along with street cleaning and snow removal, a huge logistical operation in a city of over 8.3 million people. She helped pass the city's <a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/417-18/mayor-de-blasio-speaker-johnson-celebrate-signing-waste-equity-legislation">2018 Waste Equity Law</a> and its 2019 commercial waste zones <a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/556-19/mayor-de-blasio-signs-landmark-legislation-reform-commercial-waste-collection-industry">legislation</a> that improves worker conditions and boosts the usage of low-emission collection vehicles. She also served as the interim chair and chief executive officer of NYCHA, and was the city's "food czar," where she managed the distribution of nearly 1.5 million meals a day during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. In May, Garcia was <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/10/opinion/kathryn-garcia-nyt-endorsement-nyc-mayor.html">endorsed by The New York Times Editorial Board</a> as the Democratic nominee for mayor, with the board saying that she "best understands how to get New York back on its feet."</p><p><strong>Policies and campaign promises:&nbsp;</strong>Garcia's housing platform, titled "Housing That Heals," reinforces the connection of safe housing with positive health outcomes. Her plan would create 50,000 new units of affordable housing and end discriminatory zoning practices, in addition to constructing 10,000 units of "supportive housing" for individuals experiencing homelessness. She wants to reform policing in the city by reassigning more officers to neighborhood policing units, strengthening community engagement, and enacting a city residency requirement for new officers.</p><p><strong>Controversy and notable items: </strong>While Garcia's vast experience has been a selling point of her campaign, her ties to the de Blasio administration could prove problematic for those looking for a reset in city government. Rivals such as <a href="https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/city-hall/story/2021/06/01/as-garcia-surges-the-hits-are-coming-1384756">Adams and Yang have evoked images of mounting piles of trash</a> on New York's streets as Garcia has risen in the polls.</p><h2>Dianne Morales</h2><h3><img src="https://static4.businessinsider.com/image/60b7b239bee0fc0019d5ae04-2400/Economic Justice Press Conference_Rodriguez_051121_001.jpg" border="0" alt="Economic Justice Press Conference_Rodriguez_051121_001" data-mce-source="Morales campaign" data-mce-caption="Nonprofit executive and Democratic New York City mayoral candidate Dianne Morales.">&nbsp;</h3><p><strong>Bio:&nbsp;</strong>With more than 15 years of experience running nonprofits in the city, Dianne Morales was the executive director of <a href="https://www.phippsny.org/">Phipps Neighborhoods, a South Bronx-based nonprofit</a> that develops, owns, and manages affordable housing. She graduated from SUNY Stony Brook and holds a pair of master's degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Columbia University in social and education administration, respectively. Morales, 53, hails from Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood and would be the city's first Afro-Latina mayor.</p><p><strong>Policies and campaign promises:&nbsp;</strong>Morales has billed her campaign as unapologetically progressive and not the "safe choice" in the crowded Democratic field. She is the <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/nyc-mayoral-race-defund-the-police-dianne-morales-candidate-profile-2021-5">only candidate campaigning on "defund the police" as both a policy and slogan</a>, with the other proponent of the term, City Council Member Carlos Menchaca, <a href="https://gothamist.com/news/left-wing-city-council-member-carlos-menchaca-endorses-andrew-yang-mayor">endorsing Yang</a> in April after he dropped out. Morales' "Defund the Police; Fund the People" plan would take $3 billion from the NYPD budget and use it for social services instead, part of which would go toward the creation of a <a href="https://www.dianne.nyc/defund">Community First Responders Department</a>. Racial equity has been a major theme throughout Morales' campaign promises; she even developed a metric for it in the city's economic development project approval process.</p><p><strong>Controversy and notable items:&nbsp;</strong>Morales' campaign staffers mounted a work stoppage in late May over the firing of four senior aides who were reportedly involved in a unionization effort for the staff. News of the rift was broken by Hunter Walker of <a href="https://www.theuprising.info/p/nyc-mayoral-candidate-dianne-morales-1f8">The Uprising</a>, a newsletter on Substack. Details of what kind of alleged wrongdoing occurred remain vague, and Morales agreed with a description of the four fired staffers mounting "a coup," according to Walker.&nbsp;</p><h2>Scott Stringer</h2><p><img src="https://static1.businessinsider.com/image/60b7cbc6bee0fc0019d5aea2-2400/2020-07-01t110957z_1_lynxmpeg603bz_rtroptp_4_usa-election.jpg" border="0" alt="FILE PHOTO: Comptroller Scott Stringer attends the Queens District Attorney election night in the Queens borough of New York City, New York, U.S., June 25, 2019. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon" data-mce-source="Reuters" data-mce-caption="Comptroller Scott Stringer attends the Queens District Attorney election night in the Queens borough of New York City"></p><p><strong>Bio:&nbsp;</strong>With key progressive endorsements locked up well in advance and <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/01/nyregion/de-blasio-scott-stringer-new-york-mayor-2017.html">flirtations with a 2017 mayoral run against de Blasio</a>, City Comptroller Scott Stringer set himself on a trajectory for Gracie Mansion over the better part of the past two decades. Stringer came up as an aide to Congressman Jerry Nadler in the 1980s, who was then a state assemblyman. Before that, he graduated from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice with a bachelor's in government studies. After his own career as an assemblyman from 1993 to 2005, Stringer served as Manhattan Borough President from 2006 to 2014. He has been comptroller since 2014 under de Blasio, amassing a strong network of support among Upper West Side activists and donors over the years.</p><p><strong>Policies and campaign promises:&nbsp;</strong>Stringer, 61, wants to <a href="https://stringerformayor.com/plans/transportation/">build out a 425-mile bikeway across the five boroughs</a> as part of a broader investment in bike infrastructure, as well as make all subway stations fully accessible under the Americans with Disabilities Act. His "15 minute" neighborhood program would better coordinate zoning to ensure "all essential daily needs are accessible to all New Yorkers."</p><p><strong>Controversies and notable items:&nbsp;</strong>Stringer was <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/scott-stringer-allegations-sexual-assault-intern-nyc-mayoral-race-2021-4">accused of sexual harassment and assault by a former unpaid campaign aide</a> who initially characterized herself as an unpaid intern at the time of the alleged misconduct in 2001. Details of her account and basic facts from her timeline did not hold up under scrutiny in an <a href="https://theintercept.com/2021/05/04/nyc-mayor-scott-stringer-jean-kim/">investigation by The Intercept</a>. Stringer has denied any wrongdoing, saying the two were friends and had a consensual romantic relationship before he got married. A second woman accused Stringer of groping her when she worked at an Upper West Side bar co-owned by him, according to <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/04/nyregion/scott-stringer-teresa-logan-sexual-misconduct.html">The New York Times</a>. He denied those allegations as well. Several of Stringer's initial endorsers publicly withdrew their support, with some, such as Rep. Adriano Espaillat, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/24/nyregion/nyc-mayors-race.html">switching their endorsements</a> to rival campaigns (in this case, to Adams).&nbsp;</p><h2>Maya Wiley</h2><p><img src="https://static4.businessinsider.com/image/60b7d0ef02ac410018f93e91-2400/maya wiley 01:getty.jpg" border="0" alt="maya wiley 01:getty" data-mce-source="Getty Images" data-mce-caption="Democratic New York City mayoral candidate Maya Wiley."></p><p><strong>Bio:&nbsp;</strong>As a political and legal analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, Maya Wiley became a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch'v=czAFyVltMJ4">familiar face to millions of viewers</a> across the country during former President Donald Trump's administration, when she became a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch'v=WPNsQNjg7gM">go-to voice for discussing the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation</a>, which set out to probe Russian interference in the 2016 US election. Unbeknownst to some, Wiley's connection to New York City runs deep. She lost her father, the civil rights leader George Wiley, at a young age. After graduating from Dartmouth College, she moved to New York to attend Columbia Law School, eventually becoming a civil rights attorney. Wiley worked for the NAACP before becoming a top counsel for de Blasio from 2014 to 2016 and a chair of the Civilian Complaint Review Board from 2016 to 2017, where she investigated and recommended action on complaints against NYPD officers. She has also been a professor at the Milano School of Policy, Management, and Environment at the New School.</p><p><strong>Policies and campaign promises:</strong> Wiley, 57, has crafted New Deal New York, a Works Progress Administration-style proposal akin to the New Deal, which would pump a $10 billion investment into the city's economy over five years and create roughly 100,000 jobs. A so-called New Deal czar would report directly to the mayor to ensure transparency. The money would be set up to be distributed with equity in mind, with a focus on racial disparities in income, unemployment, and capital investments over the past decade. Wiley would also overhaul the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the massive public corporation that provides housing to more than 400,000 residents and <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-05-27/the-40-billion-housing-headache-facing-new-york">currently needs $40 billion for long-overdue repairs</a>. Wiley has specifically called for climate-focused NYCHA updates, as <a href="https://urbanomnibus.net/2014/10/the-storm-that-will-be-protecting-public-housing-in-the-new-100-year-floodplain/">28 percent of its units sit in flood-prone areas</a>.</p><p><strong>Controversy and notable items:&nbsp;</strong>Wiley's ties to de Blasio could pose a challenge for her as she faces an electorate that will likely look for the next mayor to take the city in a different direction in a post-pandemic environment. She has been criticized for <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/05/nyregion/de-blasio-ends-challenge-to-disclosing-emails-from-agents-of-the-city.html">arguing unsuccessfully while working as de Blasio's counsel in 2016 that his email communications with outside advisors should remain private</a>. Since leaving the administration, Wiley has sent up some flares of disapproval about her former boss, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/03/nyregion/police-shea-de-blasio-nyc.html">calling for the resignation of police commissioner Dermot Shea</a>, and after de Blasio's fundraising practices were investigated, said that she would be a more transparent mayor. She has received major endorsements from Democratic Reps. <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/16/nyregion/maya-wiley-hakeem-jeffries-endorsement.html">Hakeem Jeffries</a> and <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-endorsed-maya-wiley-new-york-city-mayor-2021-6">Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez</a>, both of New York.</p><h2>Ray McGuire</h2><p><img src="https://static4.businessinsider.com/image/60b7d250bee0fc0019d5aed1-1267/RayMcGuire2 (1).jpg" border="0" alt="Ray McGuire NYC mayor candidate citigroup" data-mce-source="Ray McGuire campaign"></p><p><strong>Bio:&nbsp;</strong>The son of a single mother, Ray McGuire grew up in Dayton, Ohio, before earning admission to the Hotchkiss School, an elite boarding school in Connecticut. From there, he propelled himself to Harvard University, where he earned an undergraduate degree in English, as well as business and law degrees. After working at First Boston, which later became Credit Suisse First Boston, McGuire joined the investment firm Wasserstein Perella &amp; Co. In 1993, he went to Merrill Lynch, where he worked in the mergers and acquisitions group, before joining Morgan Stanley as the global co-head of mergers and acquisitions in 2000. In 2005, McGuire left Morgan Stanley to join Citigroup, where he became the global co-head of investment banking. Over the course of his career, he has been one of the most prominent and highest-ranking Black executives on Wall Street. In October 2020, McGuire left his role as vice chairman of Citigroup to run for mayor.</p><p><strong>Policies and campaign promises:&nbsp;</strong>With his deep experience in finance, McGuire, 64, has focused on the city's economic recovery as it emerges from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. If elected mayor, he plans to implement a jobs accelerator program that would bring back 50,000 positions at small businesses by subsidizing half of a worker's salary for a year. McGuire would aim to target businesses that lost more than 40 percent of their revenue in 2020, compared to sales from 2019. He also hopes to negotiate a break on sales taxes for small businesses, which would allow them to hire workers and pay utilities, and set up a commission that would look for ways to cut regulations for small businesses.</p><p><strong>Controversy and notable items:&nbsp;</strong>With progressive voters increasingly leery of candidates from Wall Street, McGuire has had to tamp down the natural comparisons to former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire business executive and philanthropist. McGuire has stressed his humble beginnings and nonpolitical background, and has received endorsements from high-profile Black figures like Congressman Gregory Meeks of Queens, the rapper Jay-Z, and Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, who was killed by an NYPD officer in 2014. He also gained attention during a New York Times editorial board interview when he <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/nyc-mayoral-candidates-brooklyn-housing-prices-mcguire-donovan-yang-nyt-2021-5">underestimated the median value of a Brooklyn home for sale by $800,000</a>.</p><h2>Shaun Donovan</h2><p><img src="https://static3.businessinsider.com/image/60b9148302ac410018f94179-2400/GettyImages-1321480692.jpg" border="0" alt="Shaun Donovan" data-mce-source="Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images" data-mce-caption="New York City mayoral candidate Shaun Donovan."></p><p><strong>Bio: </strong>Shaun Donovan grew up in Manhattan and earned three degrees from Harvard Universitya bachelor's degree in engineering sciences, a master's degree in public administration, and another master's degree in architecture. He worked at the <a href="https://communityp.com/">Community Preservation Corporation</a>, an affordable housing nonprofit housing company, before being tapped as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multifamily Housing at the Department of Housing and Urban Development under then-President Bill Clinton. From March 2004 to January 2009, Donovan served as commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, an agency that preserves and advocates for affordable housing throughout the city. Donovan left his post to become the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under then-President Barack Obama from January 2009 to July 2014, where he managed a $47 billion budget. From August 2014 to January 2017, he was the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which aids the president in meeting policy, management, and budgetary objectives of the executive branch. Donovan also chaired the <a href="https://www.hud.gov/sandyrebuilding">Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force</a>, which was created by Obama to bolster the rebuilding efforts for communities affected by the devastating storm after it pummeled much of the Eastern seaboard in October 2012.</p><p><strong>Policies and campaign promises: </strong>Donovan, 55, wants to strengthen the city's emergency rental assistance program, increasing its annual spending to $500 million for struggling families and individuals who have hit severe financial roadblocks. He has committed to spending $2 billion in city capital to fast-track backlogged repairs at NYCHA facilities. On the issue of criminal justice, Donovan has committed to investing $500 million annually in community-oriented public safety and racial justice initiatives by the end of his second year in office, mostly through redirected funding from law enforcement and corrections facilities. He would also remove police and school resource officers from public school campuses.</p><p><strong>Controversy and notable items: </strong>As a former HUD secretary, Donovan was <a href="https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2021/05/11/who-thinks-100k-can-buy-a-home-in-brooklyn-these-two-wanna-be-mayors/">criticized</a> on social media for <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/nyc-mayoral-candidates-brooklyn-housing-prices-mcguire-donovan-yang-nyt-2021-5">wildly underestimating</a> the median price of a home in Brooklyn. He guessed $100,000, but the correct answer was $900,000.</p><p><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/nyc-mayoral-candidates-democrat-primary-date-ranked-choice-voting-2021-5#comments">Join the conversation about this story &#187;</a></p> <p>NOW WATCH: <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/sneaky-ways-costco-buy-more-tricks-2018-5">Sneaky ways Costco gets you to buy more</a></p>
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