Eight Democratic mayoral candidates debate on June 2—three weeks before NYC primary

Eight Democratic candidates for mayor of New York City participated in their first in-person debate on June 2, 2021: Eric Adams, Shaun Donovan, Kathryn Garcia, Ray McGuire, Dianne Morales, Scott Stringer, Maya Wiley, and Andrew Yang.

They discussed gun violence, hate crimes, policing, the city budget, public education, and the economy.

Heading into the debate, Garcia topped an Emerson College poll of 570 likely voters conducted May 23-24 with 21% support in the first round and 55% support in the eleventh and final round of ranked-choice voting. The margin of error was 4.1%. Adams and Yang, who led in earlier polls, rounded out the final three.

Garcia’s performance in polling has improved following endorsements from The New York Times and the New York Daily News. Other recent key endorsements in the race include Rep. John Liu (D-N.Y.) for Yang, Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) for Wiley, and Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.) for Adams.

Stringer, who lost endorsements following allegations of sexual misconduct that Stringer denied, received a boost from the United Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers in May through a $4 million television and digital ad campaign.

Additional key spending in the race includes $500,000 from investor George Soros to a pro-Wiley super PAC and $1 million from oil executive John Hess to a pro-McGuire group.

The primary election will take place on June 22, 2021. It will be the first mayoral primary in New York City to use ranked-choice voting. Voters will be able to rank up to five candidates on their ballot in order of preference. 

Incumbent Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) did not run for re-election because of term limits.