Mayor Bill de Blasio called mayoral candidates Andrew Yang and Kathryn Garcia’s move to join forces during the campaign trail “opportunistic,” during a Monday press conference.
On Saturday, Yang and Garcia encouraged each other’s supporters to mark the other candidate as no.2 on their ranked choice voting ballot during the city’s Democratic primary election on Tuesday, June 22 during a campaign event in Flushing, Queens.
Instead of choosing a single candidate, during this year’s mayoral primary election New Yorkers will use a special ballot to rank up to five candidates by order of preference. The candidate with the most votes, over 50%, will win just like in any other election. But if a single candidate does not have a majority, a new counting process begins.
During the new counting process, the candidate with the least number of votes is eliminated and all voters who placed that candidate as their top choice will have their vote count towards their second choice. The process continues until one candidate eventually has a majority of votes.
The surprise support from Yang and Garcia resulted in backlash from mayoral frontrunner Eric Adams, Brooklyn’s borough president, and his supporters who criticized the pair for playing politics in order to prevent a person of color from winning the election. One Adams backer, Ashley Sharpton, daughter of the Rev. Al Sharpton, argued the two were working to suppress Black voters and “steal the election.”
This is a cynical attempt by Garcia & Yang to disenfranchise Black voters. We didn’t march in the streets all summer last year and organize for generations just so that some Rich businessman and bureaucrat who don’t relate to the masses can steal the election from us. Disgusting https://t.co/GpmxFBPNdl
— Ashley Sharpton (@MadameAshLee) June 19, 2021
In a recent poll sponsored by Telemundo, POLITICO and WNBC, Adams lead with 24% of survey takers ranking his as their first choice for mayor. Garcia came in second with 17% and fellow candidate Maya Wiley, an attorney who once worked for the de Blasio administration, came in third with 15%.
De Blasio has not publicly endorsed any candidate but is thought to support Adams in his bid for mayor. When asked to respond to claims made by Adams and his supporters against Yang and Garcia on Monday, de Blasio fired against the two.
“Look, what I saw was simply an opportunistic move by candidates. That’s how I’d characterize it,” de Blasio told reporters. “Two people who don’t seem to agree on a whole lot, teaming up for their own political needs. That’s what I see. Not something much more than that. ”
Neither the Yang or Garcia campaigns returned a request for comment.