With the mayoral primary a little over a week away, Eric Adams has started going after Kathryn Garcia as polls shows her closing in on the frontrunner in the Democratic primary, with Andrew Yang slipping.
On Monday, Adams went after Garcia’s record as the former commissioner of the Sanitation Department during a press conference with sanitation employees. Thirteen of them previously filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging racial and gender disparities in how female and non-white employees are paid compared to their white and male counterparts in the department. “You can’t say that you’re a good manager if you’re going to manage inequities, if you’re going to manage a dysfunctional city. That is not the management that we want,” Adams said.
During one part of the event, city councilman Ydanis Rodriguez said both in English and Spanish that Garcia was “not a Latina.” Garcia’s former husband is of Puerto Rican descent. Garcia, who is white, kept her married name and doesn’t claim to be Latina herself. The New York Times reported that Adams returned after the press conference’s end to clarify that he did not say that those particular words. “I want to be clear that it is not my quote that Kathryn is not Latino,” Adams was reported as saying.
Garcia anticipating the attack from Adams over her past as sanitation commissioner, telling the Times earlier Monday: “It’s a question of experience, of management, of being a unifier along really tough issues, and having been in the trenches for as long as I’ve been.” Then Garcia turned to address allegations that Adams did the bidding of powerful donors in his role as Brooklyn borough president. “He’s been making deals and getting favors,” she said. “You know, I’ve just been serving the city and showing up.”
Earlier on Monday, a Marist poll made in partnership with WNBC, Telemundo 47, and Politico showed Adams and Garcia leading the field: 24 percent of likely voters selected Adams as their top choice, followed by Garcia with 17 percent, Maya Wiley with 15 percent and Yang with 13 percent. All other candidates received single digits and 13 percent said they remain undecided. The poll also simulated the results of a ranked choice voting, finding that Adams would win with 56 percent of the vote in round 12 with Garcia finishing in second place with 44 percent.
Adams and Garcia will meet face-to-face during Wednesday’s mayoral debate, the final before polls close on June 22.