The two candidates trailing Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams closest in the polls and preliminary results said it was too early to know who the final winner will be. “This is going to be a ranked choice election. This is going to be about not only the one, but also about the twos and threes,

Adi Talwar

Maya Wiley at her election night party at KAI Studio in Brooklyn.

As Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams confidently predicted victory in the New York City mayor’s race Tuesday night, the two candidates trailing him closest in the polls and preliminary results had a different message: not so fast.

Read more coverage on the upcoming 2021 NYC elections here.

At separate election night parties Tuesday, civil rights attorney Maya Wiley and former city Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia urged supporters to be patient and wait for the final results of ranked choice voting, a process Adams’ campaign has been critical of in recent weeks.

The new system, which lets voters rank up to five candidates in order of preference, kicks in if no contender earns at least 50 percent of votes during the first count. The candidate with the least amount of votes is then eliminated and their ballots redistributed to the remaining contenders, a process that continues until just two names remain and a winner is declared.

Election officials have said the final results in the race, which will include absentee and affidavit ballots, likely won’t be certified until mid-July.

“As expected, this is going to be a ranked choice election,” Garcia told a crowd of supporters who’d gathered for her election night party in Bushwick Tuesday night. “This is going to be about not only the one, but also about the twos and threes, and to be quite honest with you we’re not gong to know a whole lot more tonight than we know now. It’s going to come down to opening up those ballots and making sure every single New Yorker’s voice is heard.”

Kathryn Garcia thanks supporters on primary election night in Brooklyn. (Jeanmarie Evelly)

Wiley, at her own campaign headquarters elsewhere in Brooklyn, struck a similar message.

“I don’t know what New Yorkers have chosen tonight,” she said. “Every single vote will count, every single New Yorker who voted will count. Fifty percent of the ranked choice vote has not yet been counted.”

Andrew Yang, a tech entrepreneur who’d held a steady lead in opinion polls earlier in the campaign but lost that momentum in recent weeks, conceded the race Tuesday night, meaning his ballots will be redistributed to whichever candidates voters ranked next.

“I am someone who traffics in what’s happening by the numbers and I am not going to be the next mayor of New York City based on the numbers that have come in tonight,” said Yang, who hit the campaign trail alongside Garcia during the last week.

In her speech to supporters Tuesday, Garcia pitched herself as she has for most of the election: As a no-nonsense candidate who will get the job done, touting her experience running the sanitation department in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and overseeing the city’s massive emergency meals program during COVID-19.

“I am excited about the possibility of rolling up our sleeves and getting it done,” she said. “We voted for this, we voted to make sure that we could have this expanded sense of Democracy.”

Wiley has been endorsed in recent weeks by a bevy of progressive leaders, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Elizabeth Warren.

“Maybe you heard a few candidates talk about themselves. Maybe they did it for a long time,” Wiley said in a line aimed at Adams. “Right now I am not talking about me, I am talking about a mission that is for every single New Yorker.”

“Voting is about voice,” she added. “Victory is about only one thing: whether or not we make the lives of every single New Yorker better.”


Read more:

Andrew Yang Concedes in NYC Mayor’s Race: ‘I’m a Numbers Guy’
Eric Adams Strikes Celebratory Tone as Ranked Choice Count Begins
Worker Shortages at Some NYC Polls: Missing Translators, ‘A Table With Nobody’

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