Wiley Wins the Progressives: 5 Takeaways From the N.Y.C. Mayor’s Race

With two weeks to go before the Democratic primary, the progressive left has seemed to have coalesced around a single candidate, relying on a time-honored technique: self-elimination.

The candidate is Maya Wiley, the former counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio. Her rise to the top of the progressive pile did not come easily. To get there, her two rivals first had to see their campaigns implode.

First to take himself out was Scott M. Stringer, the New York City comptroller. He was an original progressive favorite, until two women came forward with decades-old allegations of inappropriate sexual advances, causing many progressives leaders to withdraw their support.

Next to run into trouble was Dianne Morales, the former nonprofit executive whose campaign mutinied, tried to unionize and then accused her of union-busting. It was a bad look for a woman who has run on empowering the grass roots.

Support for Morales collapses

Four progressive groups, including the Working Families Party, have rescinded their endorsements for Ms. Morales. All are now endorsing Ms. Wiley, joining Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman, who endorsed her over the weekend.

And three of the city’s major progressives groups, the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, the Jewish Vote and New York Progressive Action Network, have all moved from Ms. Morales to Ms. Wiley.

“As Eric Adams and Andrew Yang continue to push dangerous pro-corporate, pro-carceral agendas, it’s more important than ever that we consolidate progressive strength to ensure a working people’s champion wins this year,” said Sochie Nnaemeka, the New York State director of the Working Families Party. “Maya Wiley has the momentum, platform and growing diverse coalition to win this race.”

The rescinded endorsements follow news last week that Ms. Morales’s top adviser, Ifeoma Ike, has also defected to Ms. Wiley’s team.

Although many of these groups are switching to Ms. Wiley, Shaun Donovan, the former federal housing secretary who has remained in the second tier of top candidates, is trying to take advantage of Ms. Morales’s misfortune by poaching her supporters.

His campaign has sent texts to Ms. Morales’s backers highlighting his support for ending solitary confinement in prisons and removing metal detectors from schools.

“Shaun is the only candidate, aside from Dianne, who has called for $3 billion to be reallocated from the police and corrections budget toward community-based public safety and racial justice initiatives,” said Jeremy Edwards, a spokesman for Mr. Donovan.

A.O.C. backs list of progressives for City Council

Although Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s endorsement of Ms. Wiley on Saturday made headlines, she also took a stand on the City Council race, throwing support to 60 candidates running in 31 districts.

They had all signed a 30-point pledge aligned with the vision of her PAC, Courage to Change, promising to support policies like a Green New Deal, moving money from the police to social services, investing in public transit and rejecting donations from the fossil-fuel and real-estate industries.

The message: Lasting movements are built from the ground up, and the fight for the bottom of the ticket is at least as important as the top-billed mayoral race.

“We are advancing and making sure that we are coming together as a movement,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said, standing before rows of candidates holding purple Courage to Change signs. She urged New Yorkers in their 31 districts to vote for them.

The list includes all six candidates on the Democratic Socialists of America slate: Brandon West, Michael Hollingsworth and Alexa Avilés in Brooklyn; Tiffany Cabán and Jaslin Kaur in Queens; and Adolfo Abreu in the Bronx. Those candidates are emphasizing climate and environmental-justice policies such as building publicly owned renewable-energy infrastructure and banning new fossil-fuel infrastructure like gas power plants and pipelines.

In districts with several candidates from her list, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez picked top choices on the basis of their support from grass-roots groups focused on public housing, climate action and immigrant and labor rights.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez emphasized that to keep its momentum, the progressive movement needs to build a bloc in the City Council to help a Mayor Wiley shift policy to the left.

“We have a candidate that grass-roots movements can work with, can influence, can shape,” she said.

Trump looms over the Republican primary

The shadow of one of the most prominent former New Yorkers loomed large over the Republican mayoral primary last week.

On Thursday morning, Fernando Mateo, a restaurant owner, announced an endorsement from Michael T. Flynn, a former national security adviser to President Donald J. Trump.

Hours later, Mr. Mateo announced at a debate with his opponent, Curtis Sliwa, that he had met with Mr. Trump that same day to discuss the state of New York City.

“He is very saddened by the state of this city,” Mr. Mateo said of the former president, who was a lifelong New Yorker until he changed his primary residence to Florida in 2019. “President Trump has compassion for New York and New Yorkers.”

A representative for Mr. Trump, who has not made an endorsement in the race, confirmed the meeting.

Mr. Mateo has repeatedly voiced his support for the former president, who is under investigation by the Manhattan district attorney.

Throughout his campaign, Mr. Mateo has criticized Mr. Sliwa, the founder of the Guardian Angels who only became a Republican last year, for not supporting or voting for Mr. Trump, who remains popular with Republicans.

Understand the N.Y.C. Mayoral Race

    • Who’s Running for Mayor? There are more than a dozen people still in the race to become New York City’s next mayor, and the primary will be held on June 22. Here’s a rundown of the candidates.
    • Get to Know the Candidates: We asked leading candidates for mayor questions about everything from police reform and climate change to their favorite bagel order and workout routine.
    • What is Ranked-Choice Voting? New York City began using ranked-choice voting for primary elections this year, and voters will be able to list up to five candidates in order of preference. Confused? We can help.

    The two have also sparred over the lie that Mr. Trump won the 2020 election — Mr. Sliwa says he did not — which has become a litmus test for conservative candidates across the country.

    Mr. Flynn, a former general who became one of the most ardent voices in Mr. Trump’s push to overturn the election and recently suggested at conference organized by adherents of the QAnon conspiracy theory that he would support a military coup, cited Mr. Mateo’s embrace of the former president as the reason for his endorsement.

    “He understands, supports and embraces President Trump’s America First agenda,” Mr. Flynn said.

    McGuire’s wife cuts an ad

    Mr. Yang’s wife, Evelyn, rode the Cyclone roller coaster in Coney Island, Brooklyn, with him in his first advertisement.

    Mr. Stringer’s wife, Elyse Buxbaum, appears with him in an ad showing the couple getting their two sons ready for school.

    Now, as the former Wall Street executive Raymond J. McGuire continues to struggle in the polls, his wife, Crystal McCrary McGuire, a lawyer and filmmaker, is appearing solo in an ad set to launch on Tuesday.

    The ad shows Ms. McCrary McGuire with Mr. McGuire and their 8-year-old son, Leo, and talks about his work behind the scenes helping New Yorkers as a “private public servant,” including on the board of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

    “There are literally hundreds of stories about how Ray has been serving the community of New York City for three decades, but he hasn’t been putting out press releases about it,” Ms. McCrary McGuire said in an interview.

    Mr. McGuire entered the race with strong support from the business community. He has raised more than $9 million and has a super PAC supporting his campaign, but he has not been able to break through with voters, according to available polling.

    Yang takes on de Blasio

    For weeks, Andrew Yang has been treated by the other mayoral candidates as a front-runner, drawing sustained attacks at debates and on the campaign trail. Yet Mr. Yang is sharpening his attacks on someone who is not even running against him: Mr. de Blasio.

    On Tuesday, Mr. Yang delivered what his campaign called a “closing message,” blaming Mr. de Blasio and his administration for problems associated with crime and quality of life.

    Then on Thursday, Mr. Yang showed up outside a Y.M.C.A. in Park Slope, Brooklyn — a gym famously frequented by Mr. de Blasio — where he planned to talk about how best to “turn the page on the de Blasio administration.” (Mr. Yang was heckled by protesters and forced to leave.)

    It has been a shift in tone for Mr. Yang, who had for months positioned himself as an exuberant, optimistic political outsider.

    But the attacks serve several functions. By targeting Mr. de Blasio, Mr. Yang is seeking to cement his position as a reform candidate. He is also implicitly drawing a contrast with some of his top rivals in the race.

    He has cast Eric Adams, who is vying with Mr. Yang for moderate Democrats, as an ally of Mr. de Blasio. And two other rivals worked for Mr. de Blasio — Ms. Wiley and Kathryn Garcia, who served as sanitation commissioner — making criticisms of the mayor’s record a form of proxy attack against them.

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