Eric Adams is painting a late-campaign alliance between Andrew Yang and Kathryn Garcia as a nefarious, racially motivated plot to deny him a victory in Tuesday’s primary. Meanwhile, Maya Wiley is defending her two fellow candidates from his criticism.
On Saturday, Garcia and Yang, the erstwhile front-runner, appeared together on the stump, with Yang urging his supporters to rank Garcia No. 2 on the ballot (and Garcia not quite reciprocating). Adams ripped the two for joining forces against him on what happened to be the new national holiday of Juneteenth.
“Where people are talking about, ‘How do we lift up Black and brown people in the city as well as all New Yorkers, that was their symbol on June 19th, on the federal holiday,” he said. “So I have a problem with that.”
Adams had previously said that “for them to come together like they are doing in the last three days, they’re saying we can’t trust a person of color to be the mayor of the City of New York when this city is overwhelmingly people of color.”
Yang responded, “I would tell Eric Adams that I’ve been Asian my entire life.”
In a Fox 5 appearance Monday morning, Adams kept up the drumbeat of accusations, invoking Jim Crow.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is believed to be supporting Adams privately, also weighed in, calling the candidates’ strategy “opportunistic.”
On Sunday, the Adams campaign released a number of statements from surrogates who cast the partnership in conspiratorial terms. The activist Ashley Sharpton, Al Sharpton’s daughter, called it a “cynical attempt by Garcia and Yang to disenfranchise Black voters,” while former comptroller H. Carl McCall confusingly labeled it “an attempt to bring the disgraceful national campaign of voter suppression to New York.”
Wiley blasted Adams in a statement, saying that “at a time when this country is seeing real voter suppression laws being enacted, using racism charges to undermine confidence in Ranked Choice Voting is cynical, self-interested and dangerous.”
Garcia thanked Wiley for her words, tweeting, “Throughout this campaign she has never hesitated to fight for what she believes in. At every debate and every turn of this historic race it’s been an honor to share the stage with other strong women.”
Ranked-choice voting is new to the city, but in cities and countries where it is standard practice, it is hardly unusual for candidates to form such strategic alliances. In a statement defending Garcia and Yang, ranked-choice voting advocates Susan Lerner of Common Cause New York and Sean Dugar of Rank the Vote NYC said: “There is nothing insidious or cynical about two candidates transparently using a legitimate strategy in a democratically approved system of election. Candidates should keep their criticism to the issues, rather than mischaracterizing a strategy that is available to all who choose to use it.”
The Adams campaign’s coordinated attack on the fundamentals of ranked-choice voting raises the specter that the candidate could sow doubt about the integrity of the election, especially given that the results may not be known for weeks. On Sunday, he said that the city’s Board of Elections should not release any numbers until the final tally, warning that voters could suspect there was “hanky-panky” going on otherwise.
In light of his recent criticisms, Adams was asked Monday if he could assure voters that he wouldn’t claim that the election was stolen like Donald Trump did when he lost the 2020 presidential election.
“Yes I do. I assure voters that no one’s going to steal the election from me,” Adams said.