Walking along Asch Loop in the Bronx Tuesday morning, Kathryn Garcia met a couple of voters with a message of their own.
“You have to win,” Elfrain Rodriguez, 74, said from behind his mask. “I know I have to win,” Ms. Garcia replied enthusiastically. “I’m working on it.”
It’s been a long run for Ms. Garcia, who started Primary Day before 6 a.m. with workers at a Manhattan garage of the Department of Sanitation, the agency where Ms. Garcia, a former commissioner, established her credentials as an administrator.
That reputation alone didn’t immediately earn Ms. Garcia recognition among voters early on in the race. But interest picked up after candidates, including Andrew Yang, remarked that they’d hire Ms. Garcia as part of their administrations — comments she called sexist. Her qualifications, too, earned her endorsements from both The New York Times and The Daily News.
“We need a woman to control New York City, and she’s the best,” Mr. Rodriguez said, who added that he tells his friends to vote for Ms. Garcia. “I’m tired of seeing a man. They’re all doing nothing.”
At the shops in Bartow Community Center, Ms. Garcia shook hands with voters waiting in line for supplies from the New York Common Pantry, posed for photos with children and wished a passing student with a handful of balloons a happy graduation. A youthful group of campaigners and canvassers, including her two children, helped make last-minute pitches and hand out fliers to voters.
“She has more of a grasp on New York City than any others,” said Roseanne Velez, 60, conceding that Eric Adams is the only other candidate whose handle on the city comes close to Ms. Garcia’s.
Later, Ms. Garcia stood on the corner of West 108th Street, moving to the rhythm of the cumbia music coming from a small Bluetooth speaker dangling from the crosswalk lights and making last-minute pitches to voters.
As Ms. Garcia made her way across the street, one young man looked up in shock, “Oh my god, it’s you,” he told her. “I just got one of your fliers!”
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