Spurning liberals, Adams wins NYC’s Democratic mayoral race with ‘blue-collar’ appeal
Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president and a former police captain, won the Democratic nomination for New York City mayor as a moderate who vowed to improve public safety and give voice to working-class residents.
The message resonated in the pandemic-weary city, where media reports of a spike in shootings drove crime to the top of voters’ concerns even as New York confronts deep-seated issues including wealth inequality, a lack of affordable housing and struggling public schools.
Adams’ two closest rivals, former city sanitation chief Kathryn Garcia and civil rights lawyer Maya Wiley, conceded the race on Wednesday, a day after newly released vote totals from the June 22 election showed him maintaining a narrow lead.
Adams’ victory makes him the strong favorite in November’s election in the heavily Democratic city – and could give national Democrats some signs of where voters stand as the party strives to maintain a fragile alliance between progressives and centrists in Washington.
Adams has been dismissive of critics of his agenda on the left whom he says do not speak for mainstream Democrats.
“I say that it’s time for us to stop believing that we should have the right tweets. We should have the right safe streets,” Adams told CNN on Wednesday.
Adams spent less time campaigning in Manhattan than some of his rivals in the crowded race, instead targeting minority and working-class neighborhoods in the four outer boroughs – Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island, all of which he carried.
Adams centered his campaign on fighting crime. But as a Black man who portrayed himself as a “blue-collar” New Yorker, he also argued that working-class Democrats had been ignored by the party’s more liberal wing, including current Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration.
“He was talking about issues that resonated with them,” said Christina Greer, a professor at Fordham University who followed the race closely. “For a lot of people, this past year and a half has been – putting COVID aside – economically just devastating.”
Adams prevailed with a coalition that resembled, in some ways, the voters who helped elevate President Joe Biden to the Democratic nomination last year, particularly his support among more moderate Black voters.