New York Mayoral Primary Shows Split Between Democratic Constituencies
New York City's notoriously incompetent election officials have not finished tabulating the votes in the June 22 Democratic primary, with its novel ranked choice voting system. But the first choices of voters -- minus some 124,000 absentees -- nevertheless reveal some important things about the differences between different segments of the Democratic coalition in America's largest city.
These initial results were a clear repudiation of the term-limited left-wing Mayor Bill de Blasio. Coming in first was Brooklyn borough president and former New York Police Department cop Eric Adams with 31.7%, well ahead of top de Blasio aide Maya Wiley, with 22.2%. Third was Kathryn Garcia, de Blasio's technocratic sanitation commissioner, with 19.5%. Adams decried and Wiley defended de Blasio's de-policing policies, while Garcia gingerly opposed "defunding" the police. So did 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who finished fourth with less than 12%.
Yang did carry seven of the city's 63 assembly districts with 27 to 47% of the votes -- all with many Asian (mostly Chinese) and Orthodox Jewish voters. As The New York Times' "most detailed" map of the results shows, he had negligible first-choice support elsewhere.
Both groups had concrete gripes with de Blasio. The Chinese hated his proposal to get rid of competitive exams for entry into elite high schools like Stuyvesant and Bronx Science -- their kids' avenue to upward mobility -- and the Orthodox resented his obvious prejudice against them.
Affluent gentry liberals, who jostle for places in private schools and in whose doorman-building neighborhoods violent crime is still rare, had more abstract concerns. They're wary about the violent crime upsurge elsewhere in the city but, just as they like being masked even after being vaccinated, don't like to be noisy about it.
Their first-choice candidate, endorsed by The New York Times, was Kathryn Garcia, a native of Brooklyn's affluent Park Slope and an experienced administrator who quietly opposed the police. She carried Manhattan from Tribeca to Morningside Heights, plus the Brooklyn Heights-Prospect Park district in Brooklyn, Forest Hills in Queens and far-distant southern Staten Island.
She won about 40% of first-choice votes in the affluent areas -- and less than 10% in most others. Second- and third-choice votes may give her victory, but that won't be known for weeks.
The candidate closest to de Blasio was his one-time counsel and Civilian Complaint Review Board chairman Maya Wiley. A supporter of defunding the police, she was endorsed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and by former presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Julian Castro.
But despite her leftish credentials, Wiley won only 22% of first-choice votes. She carried no assembly districts in Manhattan or the Bronx and none with large Black percentages.
She did carry five assembly districts in Queens and five in Brooklyn, all in various stages of gentrification. They're connected to Manhattan by the No. 7, L and other subway trains, and they're increasingly populated by high-education, low-income young people hoping to make it in the big city.