New York City's Democratic Mayoral Primary Finally Has A Winner
NOEL KING, HOST:
The AP has called the New York City Democratic mayoral primary for Eric Adams. If he wins the general election in November, Adams would become the city's second Black mayor. And the smart money is on him winning because in New York City, Democrats outnumber Republicans 7 to 1. Brigid Bergin from member station WNYC is following this story. Good morning, Brigid.
BRIGID BERGIN, BYLINE: Good morning, Noel.
KING: There were a couple of things that made Eric Adams a unique candidate in this race, including the fact that he has a background in law enforcement.
BERGIN: That's right. He is a former New York City police captain turned state senator and currently the Brooklyn Borough president. When he was on the police force, he founded an organization called 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, which really worked to address issues like racial profiling and the overuse of stop-and-frisk. But in this race, he really positioned himself as the centrist candidate.
KING: Now, this was a very crowded field that included some people who are not just New York City famous; they're actually nationally famous. How did he appeal to voters in the end?
BERGIN: Well, that's right. There were 13 candidates on this ballot, including former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang. Adams really branded himself as the blue-collar mayor and sought to appeal to voters across the five boroughs. You know, as with all campaigns, Noel, timing is really everything. And Adams really began picking up steam as the city was emerging from the pandemic, reopening in a real way. And at the same time, the city was seeing a spike in shooting incidents, in some cases, involving children in really high-profile places like Times Square. Adams has really committed to clamping down on guns, while at the same time saying that because of his experience in law enforcement, he can deliver more just policing.
KING: Yeah, that's quite a line that he was walking. In November, he's going to need to run against a Republican candidate. Who might that be?
BERGIN: Well, he will face Curtis Sliwa. He's the Republican candidate and the founder of a volunteer security force known as the Guardian Angels. They patrol the subways in these red jackets and berets. He is another very idiosyncratic character. Recently, he's been talking a lot about the 15 rescue cats he and his wife have taken in (laughter). But as you said at the top, you know, Democrats outnumber Republicans by a margin of about 7 to 1 in New York City. So while the campaign may be very colorful, it's unlikely to be that successful.
KING: And so let's say Eric Adams does win - what do you expect from him as mayor? I know you've been following him for a long time now.
BERGIN: Well, he has made combating gun violence and improving public safety a main focus of his campaign. He was an outspoken opponent of the defund-the-NYPD movement, and he has talked about actually increasing funding for the NYPD's division that's focused on suppressing gun violence and, you know, increasing police stops at train and bus stations. He wants to bring back a pretty controversial anti-crime unit that was dismantled last year but now refocus it on gun crimes. So ultimately, I can promise you, Noel, it is not going to be boring. He is an outspoken, sometimes brash character. He once said at a Martin Luther King Jr. celebration that people who are gentrifying neighborhoods should go back to Ohio, go back to Iowa. So it's going to be interesting (laughter).
KING: WNYC's Brigid Bergin. Thank you, Brigid.
BERGIN: Thank you, Noel. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.