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NEW YORK – Andrew Yang faced a roaring crowd and a Chinese lion dance troupe in Flushing, exhorting his most loyal constituency – the Asian American community of Queens – to join his rival in the New York mayor’s race.
“Kathryn Garcia is a real civil servant,” he said over a microphone, highlighting her years in the public service. “For anyone listening to my vote, Kathryn should be on the number two ballot if you support me.”
Garcia did not return the favor.
“Let me be very clear, I’m not helping,” she told another crowd an hour later outside of Stuy Town in Manhattan. “We’re campaigning together. We encourage ranking selection. ”
The explanation caused awkward murmurs from the crowd and more than a few confused expressions. But after causing a stir on Friday night when the two Democratic mayoral candidates announced they would run together, Garcia told POLITICO on Saturday that she had never intended to support her competitor and Yang never expected it.
“That was no surprise to him or his team … they absolutely knew what I was going to say,” she said as she sped downtown to the Staten Island Ferry in her green and blue campaign vehicle.
The ranked election, which allows voters to list five candidates in order of preference on their ballot papers, will debut on its largest US stage this year and has changed the game in New York’s typically bare political arena. Under the system, alliances between candidates are a common strategy for gaining electorate support in their second and third place elections.
Saturday’s matchup highlighted the unpredictability of the primary, which is less than three days away. Allianz has torn away the psychological safety blanket that is offered to a normal leader in normal polls. And it attacked Eric Adams, the Brooklyn Borough President and former NYPD captain who dominates those polls.
“I think there is a level of hypocrisy,” he told reporters during an election freeze in the Mount Eden neighborhood of the Bronx, turning his anger on the former sanitary officer.
“We heard Kathryn talk about how Yang treated her as a woman. We heard how she felt – he didn’t have the experience or know-how to run the city, ”he said. “He criticized her. Your collaboration, in my opinion, is just a measure of hypocrisy. “
He then claimed the move was an attempt to ensure that “color candidates” were excluded from the competition.
“They say that we cannot trust a black person to be Mayor of New York, where the city is mostly made up of colored people,” he said of Yang and Garcia, accusing them of deliberately announcing the agreement on June 10th, a holiday celebrating the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States
Garcia denied the charge.
“No, Eric, we win. That’s your problem, “she said. “And I think he’s surprised that his traditional policies aren’t that effective… I don’t understand how I was a hypocrite. I don’t understand how Andrew was a hypocrite. “
“We were both basically where we were throughout the race,” she added later. “He said: ‘Put Kathryn number two’ and I said: ‘I’m not telling you who my number two is”, ‘ and I want people to rank them [own] Ballot. “
She had problems with Yang when he ranked high in the early polls and said he would hire her for a top position to run his town hall.
“I agree to take his number two. I was offended by the deputy mayor [comment]. I never ran for that – I ran for mayor’s office. ”
In a statement, the Yang campaign announced POLITICO that they are “excited to spend time with Kathryn Garcia today and our teams look forward to distributing 40,000 joint-lits in each of our best neighborhoods over the next 3 days” .
Nearly half a dozen of Adams’ supporters issued statements razing the two candidates, including former Governor David Paterson, city council majority leader Laurie Cumbo, civil rights activist Ashley Sharpton and city council member Ydanis Rodriguez.
“Latino and Black New Yorkers haven’t organized and fought for generations so they could finally put a black working-class person in Gracie Mansion only to have their victory stolen from them by a backroom deal,” said the President of the Bronx Borough, Ruben Diaz Jr. . said. “Both candidates should be ashamed of themselves.”
But in cities like San Francisco, where ranked voting has been the norm for more than a decade, the alliances are a common trait for contenders who aren’t necessarily at the top.
“The classic RCV opportunity is when you have one person at the top … and two ideologically compatible contenders who overall outperform the leader,” Alex Clemens, a veteran political strategist and lobbyist from the Bay Area at Lighthouse Public Affairs, told POLITICO in April. “In a situation like this, it would make a lot of sense for them to team up.”
Despite the gang, Adams still seemed to revel in his front-runner status when he received support in the counties on another day of the campaign.
At Orchard Beach, he put on a yellow swimsuit and dived into the water when several beachgoers called his name.
“Okay, now I’m really going to vote for him because he’s on the beach,” said one woman, who joined the hordes and asked to take pictures with the candidate throughout the day.
He tried to clarify his earlier remarks about “People of Color” since Yang is of Asian descent and would be the first Asian-American mayor of New York.
“You know, they should be ready if they vote against, think about some of the other candidates in the field,” he said, referring to candidates like Maya Wiley and Dianne Morales who are Black and Afro-Latina . “But typically Yang.”
Wiley spent her day advertising all over town, focusing on her mental health and wellbeing suggestions.
She told reporters that she was invited to a campaign with Yang and Garcia, but declined based on Yang’s recent comments on New Yorkers who are mentally ill at the debate on Wednesday.
“I couldn’t do it because throughout the campaign I was focused on how we serve people with mental illness, realizing that they have value and human rights, and that they deserve service and support,” she said at a campaign stop in Rochdale Village in Queens. “From the comments Andrew made on the debate, I just couldn’t stand those comments.”
Both Yang and Garcia’s campaigns denied that Wiley had been invited to campaign with the duo on Saturday.
Wiley referred to the debate hosted Wednesday by POLITICO, WNBC and Telemundo 47, in which Yang said, “The mentally ill have rights, but do you know who else has rights? We do! The people and families of the city. ”
Wiley countered that the city had to take a “balanced approach” in dealing with mental health problems. It focused on the city’s approach to using police officers to arrest people with mental health services.
“A few weeks ago my own daughter was hit with the body by a mentally ill person in the subway and that was a traumatic event for her. But did she say, ‘Mom, I wish there was a cop who handcuffed this mentally ill person?’ No, she said, ‘Mom, how come we don’t give any help or contact to these people?’ “Wiley said.
“We need a continuum of care and services for people, everything from intervening in psychological crises … [to] Rehabilitation services for those who are also drug addicts because that is a reality and a mental health problem of its own and we need to make sure we have both a housing first strategy and the necessary emergency medical care for it, ”Wiley said.
The candidate has seen a surge on the left since winning the support of MPs Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a number of other progressive luminaries who followed. But it wasn’t as flashy as Morales, who promised to cut the NYPD budget in half and fight against building new prisons after the Rikers shut down.
Morales was faced with a campaign revolt that undermined the momentum it had just started weeks ago. Scott Stinger, the city auditor who also ran on the progressive lane, has been charged with sexual misconduct by two women – allegations he has denied.
This allowed Wiley to take over the progressive cloak in the waning weeks of the campaign. On Saturday she received endorsement from the Black Lives Caucus, the political arm of Black Lives Matter Greater New York.
“We are four days away from the election of a mayor,” said Chivona Newsome, co-founder of the organization. “As a black woman, it is important that we break through these concrete ceilings. It’s not just the first woman, it’s the first black woman. “
Newsome said the caucus went with Wiley because of her politics – and despite the fact that she was once linked to Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Newsome made an important reservation, however, when announcing support for the group.
“If Maya comes in there and doesn’t keep her election promises, we’ll bring hell and holy fire,” she said.