New York City Mayoral Race Narrows


Bill De Blasio, New York City’s mayor for the past eight years, will leave his office at the end of the year.  On Nov. 2, 2021, New York City residents will be voting for a new mayor for the first time since 2013.  The new mayor will be replacing De Blasio, whose second and final term ends on Dec. 31, 2021.

The primary election was held on June 22, 2021, when voters chose who they wanted to represent their political party in the general election.  This primary was different from previous ones, because it featured ranked choice voting (RCV) for the first time in a New York City election.  Voters were allowed to rank up to five candidates on their ballot in order of preference.  A candidate had to receive a majority of votes cast to win the election, and votes for eliminated candidates were then redistributed to the others based on their next preference on the ballot.  

In June, current Brooklyn Borough President and former Police Captain Eric Adams won the Democratic primary.  Curtis Sliwa, the founder of the Guardian Angels, won the Republican primary.  RCV allows the voters to have more of a choice in who gets elected, so even if the voters’ top choice did not win, they still have a say in who gets chosen. 

There are still many other candidates running in the mayoral race because of the presence of third parties. For the democratic mayoral primary, Eric Adams defeated twelve other democratic candidates, while in  the Republican primary race , Curtis Sliwa, who is also the candidate for the Independent Party, defeated two other candidates.  Still on the ballot are: Deborah Axt (Working Families Party), Fernando Mateo (Save Our City Party), Catherine Rojas (Party for Socialism and Liberation), Skiboky Stora (Out Lawbreaker Party), Stacey Prussman (Libertarian Party), Raja Flores (Humanity United Party), Quanda Francis (Empowerment Party), and William Pepitone (Conservative Party).  

Eric Adams received his undergraduate degree from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a Master’s in Public Administration from Marist College.  He graduated from the New York City Police Academy in 1984.  After graduation, he spent 22 years working in law enforcement.  Adams co-founded 100 Blacks Who Care, the New York City advocacy group that focuses on fighting injustices between the black community and the NYPD.  He was a part of many other activist organizations and chaired committees for these groups.  He also served in the New York State Senate for eight years, until he became the Brooklyn Borough President.  Adams explained that he decided to serve in the NYPD after being assaulted by the police as a teenager.  He did this because instead of giving into anger, he wanted to turn his pain into purpose and change the police department from within.  As mayor, Adams pledges to restart the NYPD anti-crime unit and focus on education to decrease gun violence. 

Curtis Sliwa is an American activist and a radio talk show host.  He is also the CEO of the Guardian Angels, a nonprofit organization of unarmed crime prevention.  In 1992, two years after starting his media career, Sliwa was kidnapped and shot in a targeted mob hit.  He told The New York Times that his first focus would be on reducing crime.  For many years, Sliwa was a major critic of De Blasio, because he felt De Blasio’s policies were too far to the left.  After seeing the spike in crime in 2020, he entered the race with a central focus of public safety, something many criticized De Blasio about.  He also wants more job-related training for students, meaning he believes education curriculum does not focus enough on training students for real life.  As he says on his campaign website, “Show me how we can do more with less money.”

Eric Adams and Curtis Sliwa are now in the final stages of their campaigns in the race for mayor of New York City.  It’s time to see who New Yorkers choose to be their next mayor.