NYC Primary Day: 4 Key Races to Watch, the Candidates and What's at Stake

The race for New York City mayor is no doubt the highlight of Tuesday's Primary Day, but a few other contests could have critical impacts

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The final votes are set to be cast Tuesday in New York's party primaries, where mayors, prosecutors, judges and city and county legislators will be on the ballot, along with other municipal offices.

The contests include one likely to decide who becomes the district attorney in Manhattan and inherits an ongoing investigation of former President Donald Trump.

New York City's mayoral primary is using ranked choice voting, which lets voters rank up to five candidates instead of choosing just one. Find your polling place here and take a look at the key races up for grabs below.

New York City Mayor

The leading Democratic candidates to succeed term-limited Mayor Bill de Blasio include Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, ex-presidential candidate Andrew Yang, former city sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia, former de Blasio administration attorney Maya Wiley and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.

Crime and policing issues have dominated the race following an increase in shootings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Adams, a former police captain running on his public safety record, has led most recent polls, but by a margin that could easily evaporate in the ranked-choice voting system, where people's second, third, fourth and fifth choices for mayor could all make a difference in the final outcome. He would be the city's second Black mayor.

Two candidates who would make history as the city's first female mayors, Garcia and Wiley, have been rising in polls during the campaign's final weeks.

Stringer faced calls from some of his foes to drop out of the race after two women accused him of sexual harassment.

Under ranked choice voting, which New York City adopted by referendum in 2019 and is using in a mayoral primary for the first time, candidates can form alliances and encourage their supporters to rank another candidate second.

Yang and Garcia surprised some onlookers with joint appearances over the campaign's final weekend. “Rank me No. 1 and then rank Kathryn Garcia No. 2,” Yang told supporters at a rally in Queens on Saturday.

Adams, who is Black, accused Yang and Garcia of trying to prevent a “person of color” from winning the race.

“For them to come together like they are doing in the last three days, they’re saying we can’t trust a person of color to be the mayor of the city of New York when this city is overwhelmingly people of color,” Adams said.

Yang responded that he is a person of color as well. If elected, he would be the city's first Asian-American mayor.

“I would tell Eric Adams that I’ve been Asian my entire life,” he said.

The Republican mayoral primary pits Guardian Angeles founder Curtis Sliwa against Fernando Mateo, a businessman who has led organizations that advocate for car service drivers and bodega owners.

After trading barbs on the debate stage on Wednesday, the candidates on Thursday showed off their support from some famous faces and names, including one candidate's relative who's in the Marvel Universe. NBC New York's Andrew Siff reports.

Manhattan District Attorney

Eight Democrats are running to succeed District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who has been leading a probe of Trump's business dealings.

Vance leaves office at the end of the year. In heavily Democratic Manhattan, Tuesday’s primary is expected to decide the winner.

The candidates include experienced prosecutors who say they’ll keep the streets safe, while building on reforms such as reducing drug prosecutions, and outsiders who say the office with a staff of 500 lawyers and a $125 million budget needs to be reimagined.

The field consists of three former assistants in the district attorney's office, Lucy Lang, Liz Crotty and Diana Florence, former federal prosecutors Tali Farhadian Weinstein and Alvin Bragg, and three candidates who have never been prosecutors — public defender Eliza Orlins, civil rights lawyer Tahanie Aboushi and state Assembly member Dan Quart.

The Supreme Court says former President Donald Trump is going to have to hand over his tax returns to prosecutors in New York. Gus Rosendale reports.

Farhadian Weinstein recently made waves by donating $8.2 million to her own campaign, more than all the other candidates have raised, combined.

The candidates say they’re not afraid of taking on the Trumps, but they’ve also been cautious not to appear to be prejudging the investigation. Vance’s office has spent two years scrutinizing Trump's business dealings.

Manhattan Borough President

The office of Manhattan borough president doesn't usually attract much attention outside the city, but this year’s race is notable because the field includes the first woman to publicly accuse Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment.

Lindsey Boylan is one of several Democrats on the ballot for the post.

Other candidates include former community board chair Elizabeth Caputo, state Sen. Brad Hoylman, New York City Council members Ben Kallos and Mark Levine and local school district community education council president Kim Watkins.

In December, Boylan became the first of a string of women to say Cuomo harassed them. In February, she expanded on her allegations, saying Cuomo kissed her on the lips, would go out of his way to touch her and made inappropriate comments about her looks.

Boylan said she didn’t intend to talk about harassment as part of her campaign, instead touting her experience as an economic development adviser in Cuomo's administration.

“I think it is symbolic of the fight we have in this city: we have some of our political leaders who are more interested in maintaining and accumulating power for themselves than they are in helping New Yorkers,” she said.

To win, Boylan would have to overcome several veteran candidates more familiar to voters.

Levine, Hoylman and Kallos have all raised around $1.7 million for their campaigns and enjoyed institutional support, including union endorsements.

Like the mayor's race, the winner will be chosen through ranked choice voting.

The woman whose story ignited the series of sexual harassment allegations made against Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke in public for the first time. NBC New York's Adam Harding reports.

New York City Comptroller

New York City's top Democratic contenders vying to become the city's next fiscal watchdog squared off in a final debate this week.

Eight candidates took the debate stage to make their case for why they should be the next comptroller. The participants were Brian Benjamin, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, Zachary Iscol, Corey Johnson, Brad Lander, Kevin Parker, Reshma Patel, and David Weprin.

WNBC-TV co-hosted the debate with Telemundo 47/WNJU-TV, POLITICO, Citizens Budget Commission, and New York Urban League. 

Who will manage the city's money and be the city's fiscal watchdog? That's the question the eight candidates tried to answer over the course of an hour.

The comptroller investigates fraud and abuse, provides budget oversight, and oversees pubic pension funds. As the city emerges from the pandemic, it faces a budget gap the Citizen's Budget Commission estimates to be $5 billion.

Top Democratic candidates in the race for New York City comptroller debate ahead of the June 22 primary.
Copyright NBC New York/Associated Press
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