Keep track of the contenders, the maybes, and those who’ve left the race.

Mayoral Photography Office

Updated Thursday, December 3

No votes will be cast in the race for New York City mayor until the primaries in June 2021, but the race has been underway for years, with candidates positioning themselves, raising money and, in a couple cases, entering and already leaving the race.

The public campaign of speeches, debates, mailers and commercials will unfold over the next few months. Here’s a quick reference to the people who might be on your 2021 mayoral ballot.

The contenders

They all might not have officially announced yet, but they almost certainly are running.

Eric Adams: As a New York City police officer, Adams helped found 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care and was a highly visible critic of policing policy during the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations. He retired from the NYPD as a captain and then won election to the state Senate, serving four terms. He was elected to the Brooklyn borough presidency in 2013. Early in his term he cultivated a reputation as a champion of development, famously adapting former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s “drill, baby, drill” into “build, baby, build.” More recently he has focused on health issues, tapping into his own struggle with diet to advocate for public measures to support the consumption of plant-based foods. Adams has more than $2 million in the bank and would be expected to garner significant support in Brooklyn and among Black voters. He has indicated that his line of argument will focus heavily on the need for the next mayor to be a better manager. Campaign website

Read:Mayoral Hopeful Eric Adams on Schools, Development, Policing and More

Shaun Donovan: Donovan has no electoral experience but a deep resume of government service in New York and Washington. A federal housing official in the Clinton and early George H. W. Bush administrations, he served as Mayor Bloomberg’s housing commissioner from 2004 to 2009, a period when that administration launched the New Housing Marketplace plan, a 165,000-unit affordable housing program. Donovan then joined the Obama administration—first as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, then as director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. After announcing his exploration of a mayoral run earlier this year, Donovan quickly raised a healthy amount of cash. His ties to Bloomberg might play poorly with the left, but others will welcome his association with a more business-friendly administration, as well as his Washington connections. Campaign website

Read: Donovan, Eyeing ’21 Race, Says Obama Years Were Prep for Managing NYC

Kathryn Garcia: Garcia resigned in September as de Blasio’s sanitation chief, a position she’d held since his first year as mayor. Over her tenure she also became his go-to “fixer,” taking charge of NYCHA as interim leader and serving as “food czar” at the height of the COVID-19 crisis. Twitter

Read: Outgoing Sanitation Chief and de Blasio Fixer Discusses Possible Mayoral Run

Zach Iscol: A former Marine who served in Iraq, Iscol is the founder of a mental-health non-profit called the Headstrong Project and Hirepurpose, a service for veterans and military families seeking employment. Campaign website

Read more: Meet the Former Marine and the Brooklyn Councilmember Who Are Running for Mayor

Ray McGuire: McGuire is Citigroup’s Global Head of Corporate and Investment Banking, having previously worked for Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch across a 36-year career in finance. He serves on a slew of nonprofit boards, including the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Lincoln Center and The New York Public Library. Campaign website

Carlos Menchaca: Menchaca’s surprise announcement that he was considering a mayoral run followed the collapse of the Industry City expansion plan, which he had said he would oppose. Menchaca has wrestled with the de Blasio administration over development issues and, in legislative and committee work, focused on immigration policy. Twitter

Read more: Meet the Former Marine and the Brooklyn Councilmember Who Are Running for Mayor

Dianne Morales: Until recently, Dianne Morales was the executive director and chief executive officer of Phipps Neighborhoods, a major Bronx nonprofit. A Harvard and Columbia grad, Morales’ platform emphasizes women’s empowerment, restorative racial justice and a guaranteed minimum income. Campaign website

Read: News Flash: There are Women Running for Mayor

Curtis Sliwa: After several years as a leader of the Reform Party, the Guardian Angels founder rejoined the Republican Party earlier this year. Bio

Scott Stringer: The New York City Comptroller made his candidacy official in September. He’s been a constant critic of Mayor de Blasio during his term and a half as the city’s chief financial officer; in fact, he considered running for mayor in 2013, before deciding to run for comptroller instead, and weighed challenging the mayor in 2017 but opted to seek re-election. A former state Assemblyman, he won a tough primary to become Manhattan borough president in 2005 and then beat former Gov. Eliot Spitzer to get his current post. He’s been endorsed by a diverse array of elected Democrats and, with $2.3 million in the bank, has the largest war chest at present. Having used the comptroller’s office to craft several ambitious policy initiatives, Stringer could be the policy wonk of the race, but as a White, male, career politician, he might not be the face of change some voters are seeking. Campaign website

Read: As ’21 Race Picks Up Speed, Stringer Declares for Mayor

Loree Sutton: A psychiatrist who retired from the U.S. Army as a brigadier general, Sutton served as the city’s first veterans affairs commissioner from 2016-2019. Sutton announced her campaign in late 2019 but has struggled with fundraising. Campaign website

Maya Wiley: A civil rights lawyer who has been affiliated with the Department of Justice, NAACP and ACLU, Wiley founded the Center for Social Inclusion before becoming Mayor de Blasio’s counsel in 2014. She left that post and led the Civilian Complaint Review Board from 2016 to 2017 and now is a vice president at the New School and a professor at the Milano School. In her announcement speech, Wiley lobbed thinly veiled barbs at her former boss, de Blasio, but her tenure as his lawyer—including work on controversial topics like the mayor’s failed “agent of the city” FOIL dodge—could complicate Wiley’s effort to distance herself from the unpopular mayor. She’s entering the money race relatively late, but a newly generous public-financing match (and the spending cap that comes with it) will make it easier for candidates to reach a competitive funding level this year. Campaign website

Read: Another De Blasio Departure: What Maya Wiley’s Resignation Means

Isaac Wright: The lawyer and businessman is the inspiration for the ABC series “For Life,” about his wrongful conviction on drug charges in 1991 and his quest to win freedom and clear his name. Campaign website.


The possibles

These folks are weighing a run.

John Catsimatidis: The supermarket magnate and radio-show host spent $11 million on a 2013 mayoral run that ended with defeat in the Republican primary. He is considering another campaign. Website.

Christine Quinn: The first female and first openly gay speaker of the City Council was the frontrunner early in the 2013 race for mayor, but her association with Mayor Bloomberg sunk her in the Democratic primary, where she finished a distant third. Quinn quickly shifted to the nonprofit sector and the social-service agency Women in Need (WIN), where she became a prominent voice in discussions of homeless policy.

Max Rose: Two years after unseating a Republican incumbent to win a seat representing Staten Island and southern Brooklyn in Congress, Rose was defeated by a healthy margin on November 3. But some allies apparently feel his centrist Democrat credentials could play better citywide, especially in an election that will not tap into the well of pro-Trump sentiment that helped upend Rose on the Island in 2020.

Andrew Yang: Rumors about the entrepreneur seeking the mayoralty have circulated since he ended his 2020 presidential campaign, but they have reignited after a poll gauging support for Yang began circulating.


The dropouts

They were in the race. Now they’re out.

Ruben Diaz Jr.: Diaz, Jr. dropped out of the race in early 2020, citing a desire to spend more time with his family. Having served as borough president since winning a 2009 special election, Diaz, Jr., was believed to have had a shot at becoming the city’s first Latino mayor—succeeding where Herman Badillo and Fernando Ferrer failed. When he left the mayoral race, the borough president’s father, Councilmember Ruben Diaz, Sr., was in a competitive race for Congress. The Diazes are ideologically distant, creating increasing awkwardness for the younger and more progressive man. Now, after lengthy careers in state and city office, both men figure to be out of public life by the end of 2021.

Corey Johnson: The Council speaker was the first to formally declare his candidacy but dropped out in September 2020 citing a bout of depression. Had he continued, Johnson would have encountered static over the city budget passed in June, which neither cut the police budget enough to satisfy NYPD critics nor treated cop spending as sacrosanct enough for the department’s loyalists. All Johnson’s predecessors as Council speaker since the position was created in 1986—Peter Vallone, Gifford Miller, Christine Quinn and Melissa Mark-Viverito—have been unable to move on to higher office.


The dark horses

According to the city’s Campaign Finance Board, these candidates are registered as mayoral contenders.

Quanda Francis Website

Stephen Seely Website

Kevin Coenen Jr. Website

Edward Cullen Website

Cleopatra Fitzgerald Website

Aaron Foldenauer Website

Garry Guerrier Website

Max Kaplan

Abbey Laurel-Smith 2013 Website

William Pepitone Facebook

Julia Qing Reaves Website

Jocelyn Taylor Website

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2 thoughts on “Who’s Who in the Early Race for New York City Mayor

  1. Kathryn Garcia looks to be the most competent of the bunch. She is an administrator not a ‘woke’ ideologue like our current inept mayor. Her frequently stated admiration of Ed Koch’s mayoralty is a sign that she will champion NYC’s middle class.

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