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No issue dominated the race more than public safety, as poll after poll showed that fighting crime was the most important issue for the New York Democrats.
Few public polls suggested that Mr. Adams, a former police captain who questioned malpractice within the system – part of a complex career – gained credibility in the eyes of some voters on the matter, which will have been a determining factor if he did wins. along with significant union support and deep connections with the Democratic core constituencies.
But Ms. Wiley repeatedly challenged Mr. Adams of the left on police matters, expressed skepticism about hiring more officials to patrol the subway, and called for greater investment in the social safety net rather than in the police budget. With a pitch focused on how to “reinvent” a fairer city, she emerged as the favorite of leftist leaders and progressive voters. She also had the backing of the city’s largest union and MP Hakeem Jeffries, the most senior Democrat in the state – important factors in her efforts to build a multiracial coalition.
“I feel a lot of excitement and emotion from people about the historic nature of this race,” said Ms. Wiley, who would be the first Black woman to be elected Mayor of New York while campaigning in Harlem.
Mr. Yang, the first Asian-American mayor of New York, and Ms. Garcia, the first female mayor of the city, shared Mr. Adams’ criticism of the efforts to reduce police funding, and these three candidates also frequently spoke about the quality at. Life issues across the city. But they had different campaign messages in other ways. Mr. Adams referred to himself as a blue-collar candidate who focused on public safety and justice issues; Mr. Yang, who has no experience with the city government, described himself as a fresh-thinking political outsider; and Ms. Garcia tried to take on the role of a competent manager in the race.
“You have to win,” Elfrain Rodriguez, 74, told Ms. Garcia during a campaign freeze in the Bronx.
“I’m working on it,” she said.
But if the breed was in part marked by arguments over politics and vision, it also had all the hallmarks of bare-knuckle brawl. Mr. Adams has faced intense criticism from opponents regarding transparency and ethics associated with reports on his tax and real estate disclosures and fundraising practices. And Mr. Yang stumbled as his knowledge of local government came under scrutiny as rivals sharply questioned his leadership skills.