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Based on new numbers released by the Board of Elections on Wednesday, it looks like the crucial Democratic primary in New York City’s mayoral election could come down to a photo finish. However, in a campaign memo that was obtained by The Uprising, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams’ team argued he has the race locked down.
The memo, which was dated Thursday morning, made the case that his top rival, former sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia, faces an almost impossible path to victory. The memo was authored by Matthew Rey, an Adams campaign consultant, who argued Adams is “well positioned” to hold on to the lead he has so far once the final absentee ballots are counted.
“With 88% of the vote counted (and 100% of the Early Voting and Election Day vote counted), Eric Adams has a modest—but still very significant—lead after the NYC Board of Election’s correct ranked choice reallocation,” Rey wrote. “This lead (+14,755 votes, +2.2%) is one that may look small in the scale of the historic turnout, but is actually quite sizable given the scale of votes left to count.”
The numbers released so far by the BOE — which initially published incorrect data — do not include over 100,000 absentee ballots. New York City is using ranked choice voting for the first time this year. That process involves multiple rounds that re-allocated voters who backed losing candidates based on their ranked preferences. The BOE data — though incomplete — went through the final rounds of the process and showed Garcia overtaking former City Hall lawyer Maya Wiley to come in just about two percent behind Adams. That indicated either Garcia or Wiley could theoretically win the primary once absentee ballots are factored in. Since New York is essentially a one party town, the primary is almost guaranteed to pick the city’s next mayor.
In the Adams campaign’s memo, Rey cited a few reasons for “confidence.” He argued Adams only needs to win 42.2 percent of the absentee ballots that are likely to be in play to maintain his lead. While Garcia’s team has previously suggested they have reason to believe she will have an edge in the absentee ballots, Rey said that edge would need to be quite large based on the numbers so far.
“Kathryn would have to do 17.8% better than in the Early and Election Day vote—an extremely difficult overperformance,” he wrote.
The memo also claimed there are 114,831 preliminarily valid absentee ballots and that the vote-by-mail ballots “come from Assembly Districts that favor Eric.”
“The results in these Assembly Districts DO NOT suggest that Kathryn can perform at the level she needs to reduce Eric’s overall lead of 14,755,” Rey wrote.
Garcia’s campaign responded with a statement that referenced the fact prior BOE data has been inaccurate and said they remain “confident” in her chances.
“If recent events have taught us anything, it’s that no one should take victory laps before the final ranked choice results are in. This remains an extremely close race, we remain confident in our path to victory,” the Garcia campaign said. “We urge patience as we wait until all votes are counted and incorporated into the ranked choice tabulations. As in any election, the voters will have the last word and we are confident everyone will support the winner.”
Wiley’s campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment. You can read the full memo from Adams’ team at this link.
This post was updated with the statement from Garcia’s campaign at 12:45 pm.