The top candidates for New York City Mayor’s office plunged into a hectic final day of early voting on Sunday, a vortex of primary campaign activity, that of creative retail politics and increasing sharpness between alleged race leader Eric Adams and the rest of the field .
While the election campaign was riddled with carefree moments – Kathryn Garcia did yoga in Times Square; Maya D. Wiley hula-hoop – there were also serious clashes over Ms. Garcia’s late alliance with Andrew Yang, which led Mr. Adams and his deputies to question the integrity of the election with two days to go until the June 22nd primary .
Allies of Mr. Adams, President of the Brooklyn District, went so far as to assert baselessly that the appearance of an alliance between Ms. Garcia and Mr. Yang amounted to voter suppression – although such alliances are common in ranked elections.
This is the first New York City mayoral election to use ranked votes that allow voters to support up to five candidates in order of preference.
Ms. Garcia, a former hygiene officer, appeared again on Sunday with Mr. Yang, a former presidential candidate, but insisted again that it didn’t mean she supported his campaign.
Rather, she suggested that their campaign literature and personal appearances together were a calculated attempt to get Mr. Yang’s constituents to rank her second.
Unlike some of her rivals who started the day at church, Ms. Garcia began practicing yoga in Times Square, then visited Zabar’s on the Upper West Side and a greenmarket near Central Park, a schedule that is well received by many could -high-heeled Manhattanit.
The schedule reflected the importance of Manhattan to Ms. Garcia’s strategy, but it also underscored her challenge: attracting voters from outside Manhattan and Brownstone Brooklyn. She has openly admitted that her performances with Mr. Yang this weekend were a tactic to expand her support. Later on Sunday she spent time in the Bronx, the district with the largest Latino population.
After the early voting ended on Sunday evening in preparation for Tuesday’s primaries, voters poured into polling stations in the five boroughs.
By Sunday evening, 192,000 New Yorkers had taken part in the early voting.
Among them was Tom Werther, a retired police officer who carries a gun who believes crime is the dominant topic of the day. On Sunday he showed up at the YMCA in Rockaway, Queens to vote, but his first choice for mayor wasn’t Mr. Adams, a retired police officer who also carries a gun and thinks crime is the dominant issue.
It was Ms. Garcia who impressed Mr. Werther as “articulate” at a recent meet-and-greet nearby. He placed Mr. Yang second and Mr. Adams third.
The last day of the early voting happened to coincide with Father’s Day. Mr. Yang, a father of two, was found Sunday morning in Forest Hills, Queens, tapping his natural exuberance as he posed for selfies.
Throughout his campaign, Mr. Yang seemed happiest when campaigning in person, surrounded by selfie seekers – a testament to the national notoriety and strong social media game he hoped would make him town hall would bring.
But as he stood the natural test the front runners faced, his polling reputation diminished and his tone darkened. In the past few weeks he has been ominous about the dangers of electing Mr. Adams, whom Mr. Yang believes is ethical and who is now leading the polls.
On Sunday, Mr. Yang’s original, crowd-pleasing spirit that he displayed while vowing to be New York’s cheerleaders was seen again.
Matthew Rubinstein, 19, brought his voice to this energy for Mr. Yang.
“You see Andrew Yang going here, Andrew Yang going there,” said Mr. Rubinstein, who grew up in Forest Hills. “He’s on my TikTok, he’s on my Instagram. He’s everywhere you know It’s just more for people. “
Mr. Adams and his allies continued to express concern that Ms. Garcia and Mr. Yang were campaigning to incapacitate black and Latin American voters.
Outside a church in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, Mr. Adams said it was disrespectful for Ms. Garcia and Mr. Yang to fight together on June 15th.
“While we were celebrating liberation and freedom from enslavement, they sent a message and I thought it was the wrong message,” said Adams. “Yes, Andrew, you are a Person of Color and the Asian community recognizes that I am the strongest voice for People of Color in this city.”
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During an election freeze in the Inwood neighborhood of Manhattan, Mr Adams was asked to respond to the voter disenfranchisement alleged by some of his supporters, and he declined, despite his campaign sending out the statements.
Mr. Yang and Ms. Garcia both denied Mr. Adams’ allegation, as did Ms. Wiley, who is Black. She said that as part of the ranking selection process, candidates would make different decisions about strategy.
“I’ll never play the race card lightly unless I see racism and I don’t call that racism,” said Ms. Wiley.
She also defended the ranked voting system after Mr Adams re-raised concerns about it. Good government groups praise the new system as a step forward for democracy, in that it no longer allows candidates to vote and makes costly runoffs redundant. Mr Adams has long condemned the new system and his allies have filed a lawsuit to prevent its implementation, which failed in court. Many voters have also expressed their confusion about the system.
Ms. Wiley, who supports the ranking vote, said Mr. Adams must be afraid of her momentum if he complains about the system.
“I think the ranking vote is better for democracy, period – whoever the people are voting for,” said Ms. Wiley.
For his part, Mr. Yang suggested that he actually campaigned with Ms. Garcia to prevent Adams from winning. He has repeatedly expressed doubts about the moral integrity of Mr. Adams as the district president faced residence issues and controls over tax and real estate disclosures.
Later in the day, the central argument of Mr. Adams’ campaign – that the increase in street violence requires someone experienced in police work – seemed to hit in a personal way. The campaign used Twitter to announce that one of its volunteers had been stabbed; A week ago the campaign said a handgun was dropped after a brawl outside Mr Adams’ campaign office in Brooklyn.
Scott M. Stringer, the city’s auditor, remained relatively unremarkable on Sunday, despite performing that afternoon with his wife and two sons on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and again in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn.
Mr Stringer’s campaign stalled after two women accused him of sexual misconduct decades ago.
But when he stopped to speak to voters on Sunday, many greeted him enthusiastically and he sounded optimistic about his path to victory.
“As you can see on the streets, the response is great,” he said.
The coverage was contributed by Emma G. Fitzsimmons, Katie Glueck, Michael Gold and Jeffery C. Mays.