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Eric Adams Has Won The Democratic Nomination For New York City Mayor

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Two weeks after primary night in New York City, the results of the first ranked-choice election for mayor are in. Former police captain Eric Adams has secured the Democratic nomination. He's expected to win in November.

Gwynne Hogan from member station WNYC has been covering the race. Hey, Gwynne.

GWYNNE HOGAN, BYLINE: Hey there.

KELLY: All right. So these results came in yesterday evening, and then we saw the two other front-runners bow out of the race. They were - just remind us.

HOGAN: Right. There's Kathryn Garcia, who was the city's former sanitation commissioner, who you mentioned. And then we have civil rights attorney Maya Wiley. New York City has never had a woman mayor before, and Garcia gave a speech in Central Park besides this newly constructed statue of female suffragettes where she referenced the glass ceiling while she conceded. Here she is.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

KATHRYN GARCIA: We cracked the hell out of it, and it's ready to be broken. But we have not cracked that glass ceiling.

HOGAN: Garcia is a career bureaucrat who oversaw the sanitation department. And she really had a hard time with the more performative aspects of running for office, like rallying up a big crowd. We saw her team up with another candidate, Andrew Yang, who told his supporters to rank her second the weekend before the primary. Yang, of course, is known on the national stage for his presidential bid, but he finished fourth in the race. And ultimately, that partnership wasn't enough to push her over the finish line.

KELLY: OK, so back to Eric Adams, who did ultimately get this nomination for mayor for - Democratic nomination for mayor. What is it about him that New York City voters like?

HOGAN: Well, Adams was able to thread this needle talking about public safety and police reform. He's a former police captain. He's also Black. He was beaten by police officers when he was a child and later advocated against discrimination from within the department with a group he founded to help Black officers. Here he is on Fox 5 New York this morning.

(SOUNDBITE FOX 5 NEW YORK BROADCAST)

ERIC ADAMS: I understand crime, and I also understand police abuse. And I know how we can turn around not only New York but America. We're in a terrible place, and we could turn this country and city around.

HOGAN: There were more progressive challengers in the race, like Maya Wiley, who is also Black, who raised concerns about some of Adams' plans, like one to essentially bring back stop and frisk as a way to cut down on illegal guns in the city. Progressive candidates also wanted to decrease funding for the NYPD's budget, which was a demand that came out of the massive protests against police brutality last summer. But the city was seeing an increase in gun violence, and moderate candidates who did not want to reduce the NYPD's budget surged ahead at the end.

KELLY: Well - and I was wondering because there was a pretty striking breakdown of where people who voted for Adams live versus people who voted for other candidates. Just walk us through that.

HOGAN: Yeah. So Adams carried the outer boroughs significantly, whereas his opponent, Kathryn Garcia, won a majority of voters in Manhattan. Adams often talked about being a blue-collar candidate running in a blue-collar city, and that is really true of who ended up supporting him. Black and Latino voters in working-class areas all across the city voted overwhelmingly for Adams. I ran into one supporter in lower Manhattan earlier today at a parade for essential workers. Here's Sarah Muhammad. She's a city worker from Brooklyn.

SARAH MUHAMMAD: He has an inside look because of what he's been through. And as a man of color, I feel like he must know what the children and the people are going through. So it was personal for me. I have a son. I'm concerned about him. So we needed somebody in there that was in touch with the people.

HOGAN: There is a general election coming up in November, but in New York City, Democrats outnumber Republicans vastly. So Adams is expected to win.

KELLY: And lessons learned from how they did the selection - we said it's the first ranked-choice election in New York.

HOGAN: Yeah, yeah. I mean, ranked-choice was at play here for the first time in the citywide election. And I was talking to a lot of voters about this new system. The vast majority of people I had talked to said they felt like their vote had more weight because they didn't have to make these complex calculations about splitting the vote. So they could pick their favorite candidate without concern that that would inadvertently put someone else that they liked less into office. And some people who didn't like the ranking system told me they just voted for one candidate like before. And under this system, that's fine, too.

KELLY: Thank you, Gwynne.

HOGAN: Thanks so much for having me.

KELLY: Gwynne Hogan of member station WNYC.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE BLOW'S "TRUE AFFECTION") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.