politico – No cross-approval, but Garcia-Yang game shoots fire in New York mayoral race

Andrew Yang and Kathryn Garcia at campaign events. | Alex Wong / Getty Images, Richard Drew / AP Photo

NEW YORK – Andrew Yang stood before a roaring crowd and Chinese lion dance troupe in Flushing and urged his most loyal constituency – the Asian-American community in Queens – to support his rival in the mayoral race from New York with him.

“Kathryn Garcia is a true public servant,” he said over the microphone, highlighting her years of public service. “For all of you listening to my voice right now, if you support me, you should rank Kathryn number two on your ballot.”

Garcia did not reciprocate.

“Let me be very clear, I don’t co-approve,” she told another crowd an hour later outside of Stuy-Town in Manhattan. “We campaign together. We encourage ranked choice voting.

The statement elicited awkward whispers from the crowd and more than a few confused expressions. But after causing a stir on Friday night, when the two Democratic mayoral candidates announced they would campaign together, Garcia told POLITICO on Saturday that she never planned to support her competitor and that Yang never expected not for her to do it.

“It wasn’t a surprise to him or his team… they knew absolutely what I was going to say,” she said as she made her way to the Staten Island ferry in her pickup truck. personalized green and blue campaign.

Ranked choice voting, where voters can put five candidates in order of preference on their ballots, debuting on its biggest American stage this year has been a game-changer in the distinctively New York political arena. In the system, candidate alliances are a common strategy to gain the support of voters in their second and third place choices.

Saturday’s game underscored the unpredictable nature of the primary, less than three days away. The alliance snatched the psychological safety blanket offered to a normal favorite at the top in the Normal polls. And that put Eric Adams, the Brooklyn Borough President and former NYPD captain who dominated those polls, on the attack.

“I think that’s a level of hypocrisy,” he told reporters during a campaign stop in the Mount Eden neighborhood of the Bronx, focusing his anger on the former commissioner. sanitation.

“We heard Kathryn talk about how Yang treated her as a woman. We heard what she was feeling – he didn’t have the experience and the know-how to run the city, ”he said. “He criticized her. Their collaboration is just a level of hypocrisy in my opinion. “

He then alleged that this decision was an attempt to ensure that “candidates of color” were excluded from the challenge.

“They say we can’t trust a person of color to be the mayor of New York City, where the city is mostly made up of people of color,” he said of Yang and Garcia , accusing them of deliberately announcing the deal. the Juneteenth, a festival that celebrates the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States

Garcia dismissed the charge.

“No, Eric, we are winning. It’s your problem, she said. “And I think he’s surprised that his traditional politics aren’t as effective… I don’t see what I was a hypocrite about. I don’t see how Andrew was a hypocrite.

“It’s actually regularly where we’ve both been throughout this entire race,” she added later. “He said, ‘Put Kathryn number two,’ and I said, ‘I’m not telling you who my number two is., ‘ and that I want people to rank their [own] ballots.

Where she challenged Yang was when he led early polls and said he would hire her for a high-level position to help him run his town hall.

“I agree to take his number two votes. I was offended by the deputy mayor [comment]. I never ran for it – I ran for mayor. ”

In a statement, the Yang campaign told POLITICO that she was “excited to spend time with Kathryn Garcia today and our teams look forward to handing out 40,000 pieces of lit joint in each of our top neighborhoods for the next 3 years. days”.

Nearly half a dozen Adams supporters also released statements shaving the two candidates, including former Gov. David Paterson, City Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo, civil rights activist Ashley Sharpton and the member of the municipal council Ydanis Rodriguez.

“Latino and black New Yorkers haven’t organized and fought for generations to finally put a working class person of color in Gracie Mansion, just to then take their victory away with a backstage deal “said Ruben Diaz Jr, president of the Borough of the Bronx. . mentionned. “Both candidates should be ashamed of themselves.”

But in cities like San Francisco, where ranked voting has been the norm for more than a decade, alliances are a common feature of candidates who aren’t necessarily ahead of the pack.

“The classic RCV opportunity is one where you have one person in mind… and two ideologically compatible suitors who overall outshine the leader,” Alex Clemens, a veteran Bay Area policy strategist and lobbyist with Lighthouse Public Affairs . , POLITICO said in April. “In a situation like this, it would make a lot of sense for them to line up.”

Despite the gang-up, Adams still seemed to revel in his favorite status as he soaked up support on another campaign day in the Boroughs.

At Orchard Beach, he donned a yellow swimsuit and took a dip in the water as several beach goers called him by name.

“OK, now I’m really going to vote for him because he’s at the beach,” said a woman who joined the hordes asking to take photos with the candidate throughout the day.

He tried to clarify his earlier remarks about “people of color,” as Yang is of Asian descent and would be the first Asian-American mayor of New York City.

“You know they should be ready, if they want to do cross approvals, also think of some of the other candidates on the field,” he said, referring to candidates like Maya Wiley and Dianne Morales who are black and Afro-Latina. “But typical Yang.”

Wiley has spent his day campaigning across town, focusing on his proposals for mental health and wellness.

She told reporters she was asked to campaign with Yang and Garcia, but turned it down due to Yang’s recent comments about mentally ill New Yorkers during Wednesday’s debate.

“I couldn’t do it because I spent this whole campaign focusing on how we serve people with mental illness, recognize that they have value and human rights, and that they deserve services and support, ”she said during a village campaign stop in Rochdale, Queens. “After Andrew’s comments during the debate, I just couldn’t defend those comments.”

Yang and Garcia’s campaign denied that Wiley was asked to campaign with the duo on Saturday.

Wiley was referring to the debate hosted by POLITICO, WNBC and Telemundo 47 on Wednesday where Yang said: “The mentally ill have rights, but you know who else has rights? We do! The people and families of the city.

Wiley countered that the city needs to take “a balanced approach” to dealing with mental health issues. She focused on the city’s approach of using police officers to arrest people receiving mental health services.

“My own daughter was slammed on a subway by a mentally ill person just a few weeks ago and it was a traumatic event for her. But did she say, ‘Mom, I wish a policeman would handcuff this mentally ill?’ No, she said, “Mom, how come we don’t provide help and awareness to these people? ”Said Wiley.

“We need a continuum of care and services for people, everything from crisis intervention to mental health… [to] rehabilitation services for those who are also addicts as this is a reality and a mental health issue in and of itself, and we need to make sure we have both a Housing First strategy for that and also medical services urgency we need, ”Wiley mentioned.

The candidate has seen a momentum to the left since winning the endorsement of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a host of other progressive luminaries who have followed. But she was not as vehement as Morales, who has pledged to cut the NYPD’s budget in half and fight the construction of new prisons after Rikers closes.

Morales faced a campaign revolt that derailed the momentum she had just started to gain weeks ago. Scott Stinger, the city comptroller who was also running the progressive lane, was accused by two women of sexual misconduct – allegations he denied.

This left Wiley to take up the progressive torch in the final weeks of the campaign. On Saturday, she received approval from the Black Lives Caucus, the political arm of Black Lives Matter Greater New York.

“We are four days away from choosing a mayor,” said Chivona Newsome, co-founder of the organization. “As a black woman, it is important that we break these concrete ceilings. She’s not just the first woman, she’s the first black woman.

Newsome said the caucus went with Wiley because of her policies – and despite the fact that she was once aligned with Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Newsome, however, issued an important caveat in announcing the group’s support.

“If Maya gets in there and she doesn’t keep her campaign promises, we’ll bring hell and holy fire,” she said.

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