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Decision day looms in NY party primaries

June 21, 2021 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) — The final votes are set to be cast Tuesday in New York’s party primaries, where mayors, prosecutors, judges and city and county legislators will be on the ballot, along with other municipal offices.

The contests include one likely to decide who becomes the district attorney in Manhattan and inherits an ongoing investigation of former President Donald Trump.

New York City’s mayoral primary is using ranked-choice voting, a system that lets voters rank up to five candidates instead of choosing just one.

Voters are also deciding whether to stick with Rochester’s incumbent mayor, who has been buffeted by personal and political scandals.

Here’s a look at key races:

NEW YORK CITY MAYOR

The leading Democratic candidates to succeed term-limited New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio include Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, former city sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia, former de Blasio administration attorney Maya Wiley and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.

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Crime and policing issues have dominated the race following an increase in shootings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Adams, a former police captain running on his public safety record, has led most recent polls, but by a margin that could easily evaporate in the ranked-choice voting system, where people’s second, third, fourth and fifth choices for mayor could all make a difference in the final outcome. He would be the city’s second Black mayor.

Two candidates who would make history as the city’s first female mayors, Garcia and Wiley, have been rising in polls during the campaign’s final weeks.

Stringer faced calls from some of his foes to drop out of the race after two women accused him of sexual harassment.

Under ranked-choice voting, which New York City adopted by referendum in 2019 and is using in a mayoral primary for the first time, candidates can form alliances and encourage their supporters to rank another candidate second. Yang and Garcia surprised some onlookers with joint appearances over the campaign’s final weekend. “Rank me No. 1 and then rank Kathryn Garcia No. 2,” Yang told supporters at a rally in Queens on Saturday.

Adams, who is Black, accused Yang and Garcia of trying to prevent a “person of color” from winning the race.

“For them to come together like they are doing in the last three days, they’re saying we can’t trust a person of color to be the mayor of the city of New York when this city is overwhelmingly people of color,” Adams said.

Yang responded that he is a person of color as well. If elected, he would be the city’s first Asian-American mayor.

“I would tell Eric Adams that I’ve been Asian my entire life,” he said.

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The Republican mayoral primary pits Guardian Angeles founder Curtis Sliwa against Fernando Mateo, a businessman who has led organizations that advocate for car service drivers and bodega owners.

MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY

Eight Democrats are running to succeed District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who has been leading a probe of Trump’s business dealings. Vance leaves office at the end of the year. In heavily Democratic Manhattan, Tuesday’s primary is expected to decide the winner.

The candidates include experienced prosecutors who say they’ll keep the streets safe, while building on reforms such as reducing drug prosecutions, and outsiders who say the office with a staff of 500 lawyers and a $125 million budget needs to be reimagined.

The field consists of three former assistants in the district attorney’s office, Lucy Lang, Liz Crotty and Diana Florence, former federal prosecutors Tali Farhadian Weinstein and Alvin Bragg, and three candidates who have never been prosecutors — public defender Eliza Orlins, civil rights lawyer Tahanie Aboushi and state Assembly member Dan Quart.

Farhadian Weinstein recently made waves by donating $8.2 million to her own campaign, more than all the other candidates have raised, combined.

The candidates say they’re not afraid of taking on the Trump, but they’ve also been cautious not to appear to be prejudging the investigation. Vance’s office has spent two years scrutinizing Trump’s business dealings.

ROCHESTER MAYOR

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren heads into her primary race under indictment for alleged campaign finance violations and bruised from criticism over her handling of the death of a Black man in police custody.

Add to that recent criminal charges alleging her husband is part of a drug trafficking ring and Warren is at the most vulnerable point in her political career.

She and her husband have pleaded not guilty.

“I experience the ups and downs of life. And like you, I continue to do my best, regardless of what challenges life throws at me,” Warren said at a debate with her challenger, City Councilman Malik Evans, last month.

Warren upset Mayor Tom Richards in the 2013 Democratic primary on her way to becoming mayor and then easily defeated two Democratic challengers in 2017 to win a second term. But neither race had the personal or political turmoil that Warren has faced over the past year.

Evans, a former school board president, has presented himself as someone who can bridge divides in the community by ensuring trust and transparency at city hall.

Whoever wins is virtually guaranteed the mayor’s office. There is no Republican candidate.

MANHATTAN BOROUGH PRESIDENT

The office of Manhattan borough president doesn’t usually attract much attention outside the city, but this year’s race is notable because the field includes the first woman to publicly accuse Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment.

Lindsey Boylan is one of several Democrats on the ballot for the post.

Other candidates include former community board chair Elizabeth Caputo, state Sen. Brad Hoylman, New York City Council members Ben Kallos and Mark Levine and local school district community education council president Kim Watkins.

In December, Boylan became the first of a string of women to say Cuomo harassed them. In February, she expanded on her allegations, saying Cuomo kissed her on the lips, would go out of his way to touch her and made inappropriate comments about her looks.

Boylan said she didn’t intend to talk about harassment as part of her campaign, instead touting her experience as an economic development adviser in Cuomo’s administration.

“I think it is symbolic of the fight we have in this city: we have some of our political leaders who are more interested in maintaining and accumulating power for themselves than they are in helping New Yorkers,” she said.

To win, Boylan would have to overcome several veteran candidates more familiar to voters.

Levine, Hoylman and Kallos have all raised around $1.7 million for their campaigns and enjoyed institutional support, including union endorsements.

Like the mayor’s race, the winner will be chosen through ranked-choice voting.