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Candidates escalate attacks when the mayor’s race kicks off in the past month


First came the feverish pitch of the warm-up speeches and the catchy campaign jingle in English and Spanish that echoed through the air in the park south of City Hall. The New York Mayor’s race was nearing a pivotal moment, and one of the top contenders, Eric Adams, appeared ready to take advantage of it.

Mr. Adams declared his readiness for a brutal final stretch of mayoral elementary school – and implicitly and openly entered into the track record of Andrew Yang, his main competitor, in creating his own vision for the city.

Just the day before, Mr. Yang, whose campaign was characterized by friendliness and optimism, had criticized Mr. Adams’ fundraising campaign in his most direct criticism of an opponent to date.

Other attacks came from Scott M. Stringer, the city administrator who attacked both Mr. Adams and Mr. Yang for favoring “hedge fund billionaires” and challenged Mr. Yang on educational issues. And Maya D. Wiley held a press conference last week to impale Mr. Yang about his knowledge of police issues.

Four weeks before the June 22nd Democratic primary, which will almost certainly determine the next New York City mayor, the race is nearing a traditional brawl after months of somewhat passive but decent video forums.

For much of the race, Mr. Yang, the former presidential candidate, led the sparse public vote and most of the broadsides of other candidates were aimed at him.

But Brooklyn borough president Mr. Adams increasingly seems to be occupying at least as much space on the heads of his rivals – a reflection of his competitive strength.

“You are not aiming at what is weak, you are aiming at what is strong,” said Donovan Richards, the Queens borough president who supports Mr. Adams, prior to his rally at City Hall. “We’re moving into the last stretch and the race will intensify, but it’s clearly resonating.”

The next New York City Mayor will play a pivotal role in how the nation’s largest city recovers from the pandemic and intersecting crises affecting the economy, inequality and public safety. The candidates are aware of these operations and try to enforce their cases. They bombard voters with a flood of campaign literature, accelerate personal campaign plans and sharpen their contrasts with one another.

According to AdImpact, an ad tracking firm, more than $ 24 million in Democratic spending has been spent on the mayor’s race since Jan. 1, including a spate of outside spending on several of the candidates. Some of the competitors still have significant war crates on hand to stir up a flurry of advertising by the end of the race.

According to political strategists, candidate advisors and the public polls available, Mr. Yang and Mr. Adams are generally seen as front runners, but another candidate could still see a surge even at this late stage.

Kathryn Garcia, the former sanitation superintendent, is working on gaining momentum following recommendations from the New York Times and New York Daily News, and she has shown some traction in the limited polls available.

Ms. Wiley, who delivered an assertive debate performance, posted her second ad last week and aims to build a coalition that includes black voters and white progressives. She competes with Dianne Morales, a former nonprofit executive, to appear as the left flag-bearer in the race, a position Mr. Stringer was hoping to fill.

An allegation that Mr Stringer made undesirable sexual advances during a 2001 campaign, which he denies, has derailed that ambition as several key left-wing supporters withdraw their endorsements. In the final fundraising phase, he raised less than the top seven candidates, although his campaign found that the reach was greater than in the previous two-month period.

Mr. Stringer continues to be well funded, advertise extensively, and has the support of some powerful unions. He has also received air raid protection from a super PAC affiliated with teacher unions.

Raymond J. McGuire, a former Citi executive, and Shaun Donovan, the former federal housing secretary, are also well-funded candidates with active campaign plans and the support of super PACs looking for breakout opportunities. In the last fundraising period, Messrs. McGuire, Yang, and Adams appeared to be raising the most money, although Ms. Wiley and Ms. Garcia in particular saw growth compared to the previous period.

The arrival of the ranked election in New York City, where voters can rate up to five candidates in order of preference, has also added some degree of uncertainty to the competition – and there is local evidence that many voters have yet Don’t make decisions about their initial decisions, let alone the rest of their ballot papers.

Two more official democratic debates are planned – one for “leading candidates” – that can help voters decide, although candidates are frustrated that the June 2nd matchup should be virtual. And in the last few weeks, important influencing factors like representative Hakeem Jeffries, who supported Ms. Wiley, have decided to side.

On Sunday, representative Adriano Espaillat, a prominent Dominican-American lawmaker who got his approval for Mr. Stringer, announced his support for Mr. Adams – a decision that was closely watched as the battle for Latino voters intensified.

Other high-profile Democrats are pondering how best to use their influence when the four-week countdown hits. According to someone familiar with the matter, Senator John C. Liu of Queens, an influential voice in New York’s Asian-American politics, is expected to endorse Mr. Yang on Monday. Representative Grace Meng, the senior Asian-American elected official in New York, also assisted Mr. Yang earlier this month.

“I tended not to advocate, I’m more inclined to advocate it now,” said Jumaane D. Williams, the public attorney.

“If I support that, it would be a combination of where I am ideologically orienting myself and where I think shouldn’t rule the city,” or, he added, “where I have concerns, the city to direct. “

He declined to indicate which candidates were fueling these concerns. However, some leftists dislike Mr. Yang and Mr. Adams on issues including their relatively moderate approaches to policing and dealing with the business community. (However, Mr. Williams has spoken highly of Mr. Adams’ focus on combating gun violence.)

Earlier this month, Mr. Yang preferred a public reprimand from New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez representative for tweeting full support for Israel in the face of violence in the region. He later offered a modulated statement.

In a broader sense, Mr. Yang continues to be harshly criticized by rivals for his understanding of the city government. On Thursday, for example, he struggled to answer a question about a law that shielded police officers’ disciplinary records, which has been the focus of debate in recent years and has been repealed.

“Can you imagine a woman running for mayor of the largest city in the country who doesn’t really know or understand how the police work?” Mrs. Wiley said on Friday. “The fact that any of us who have one of the main problems in this race don’t really understand what the conversation was about in this city should really make us wonder about the qualifications.”

Chris Coffey, Mr. Yang’s co-campaign manager, argued that Mr. Yang knew about the substance of the core issues of the race.

“If you are looking for a mayor who is some kind of insider and knows the debt limit for the MTA, Andrew may not be your candidate,” he said at a press conference. “Andrew is someone with a big vision of saving money, opening schools, bringing New York back and making it safer.”

For his part, Mr. Adams was targeted by Mr. Yang and others following a report in the New York Times about mixing money and political ambition. His campaign has denied wrongdoing and called for an investigation into Mr. Yang’s fundraiser.

Mr Adams, a former police officer who has questioned police misconduct issues within the system, delivers a message focused on combating inequality and racial injustice, and most importantly promoting public safety.

There is evidence that the surge in shootings and the worrying episodes of underground violence in recent weeks has emerged as one of the most momentous and controversial issues of the competition.

Mr Adams, who says he was once a victim of police violence, is dismayed that his position on public safety is at odds with helping to curb police abuse.

“You can criticize me on a lot of things, but the boldness of some people to say, ‘He wasn’t a leading voice on Stop-and-Frisk,'” Mr. Adams said at a rally in the Harlem area on Saturday. Shortly after Mrs Wiley criticized him in a debate on the matter. “Where have you been? If you don’t know my story on this subject, something is wrong with you.”

Emma G. Fitzsimmons Contribution to reporting.

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