NEW YORK — Eric Adams held on to a double-digit lead in New York City’s Democratic Primary for mayor until the final round of rankings were done.
But when ranked choice voting comes down to just two candidates, Adams’ lead no longer seems insurmountable, thanks to an overwhelming number of Maya Wiley’s voters ranking Kathryn Garcia ahead of Adams on their ballots. The current tally shows Adams with a lead of just over two percentage points and just over 14,000 votes over Garcia, with over 125,000 Democratic absentee ballots still yet to be counted.
None of the three leading candidates — Adams, Garcia and Wiley — showed much movement on any of the first eight rounds of the ballot, which eliminated Ray McGuire, Dianne Morales, Shaun Donovan and Scott Stringer, as well as several other minor candidates. When fourth-place finisher Andrew Yang’s ballots are added, ranked choice voting really begins to show movement.
Wiley leads Garcia at every stage in the rankings until Yang gets knocked out. With Yang eliminated, Garcia — who campaigned with Yang and whom Yang endorsed as a number two choice — goes from trailing Wiley by three percentage to leading her by a tenth of a point (a difference of 347 ballots), enabling her to have a one-on-one showdown with Adams. At least 116,844 — just over 50% — of Wiley’s voters moved over to Garcia on their ranked choice ballots.
Only 44,327 of Wiley’s voters went over to Adams, fewer than the 65,404 whose ballots were exhausted and no longer counted (meaning they ranked neither Garcia or Adams at any point in the voting).
This leaves Adams with 51.1% of the vote and Garcia with 48.9%. However, among those 123,000 absentee ballots are over 39,000 — the largest chunk — in Manhattan. In that borough, not only did Adams not win on the first ballot, but he finished third behind Garcia and Wiley.
Monday began the process of scanning absentees into the BOE computer system. First, each one was opened under the careful observation of a Republican and Democrat, sometimes campaign observers keeping unofficial tallies.
A second ranked choice voting count including most of the absentee ballots will be released Tuesday, July 6. This second count will likely determine enough information to know the winner in most races, including the race for mayor.
The Board of Elections officials have promised final certified results during the week of July 12. It is after this date that absentee ballots eligible to be “cured” due to issues like a missing signature are due. Only the closes races should be undecided by the week of the 12th, including the Democratic race for Queens borough president, the Republican race for Staten Island borough president, along with few competitive City Council races.
PIX11 News’ Henry Rosoff contributed to this story.