In New York City’s 2021 primary elections, the mayoral contest’s Democratic primary has been the main event but several significant municipal offices also had contests, many of them competitive and similarly crowded with Democrats on all sides of the party’s ideological tug of war.
While results started to trickle out on election night, the city is still waiting to see who won the Democratic primary in the mayor's race, as that nominee will likely be poised to become mayor. But New York's new ranked-choice voting (RCV) system means counting happens in multiple rounds, so final results have taken a while. Matters haven't been helped by a major snafu from the NYC Board of Elections (BOE). After announcing that unofficial RCV results were live on June 29, the BOE later issued an apology because those results included “approximately 135,000” fake test ballots that had been used to make sure the system worked. The Board promised new results soon.
So when will we actually know the full results? According to the news outlet The City, the BOE's unofficial “first-round” results from election night also didn't include absentee ballots, which still get counted if they’re postmarked by election day and received by the BOE up to seven days after Election Day — i.e., yesterday, June 29. According to a New York Daily News report from that deadline day, there could be as many as 130,000 absentee ballots yet to be counted. The New York Times had reported that the entire counting process could take until the week of July 12.
With that in mind, here’s what we do know about how the Big Apple’s big primary is playing out as of right now on Wednesday morning. This story will be updated as results become available, so check back later for more.
Eric Adams, the former police captain and Brooklyn borough president, has an early lead in unfinalized results for the mayoral primary. Adams overtook presumed frontrunner Andrew Yang, the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, in both polling and in some billionaires’ donations as the election neared. As of the morning of June 30, the BOE's unofficial first-round results still show Adams out in front with 31.66% of the first-round votes. That number could still change as votes continue to be counted.
Behind Adams in the early results are Maya Wiley and Kathryn Garcia. As of the morning of June 30, the BOE says Wiley has 22.22% of the first-round vote and Garcia had 19.48%. Wiley has a lead of over 21,000 votes on Garcia but trails Adams by over 75,000 votes.
Garcia, the city's former sanitation commissioner, surged in one late May PIX11 News/Emerson College poll, not long after she won endorsements from the Times and New York Daily News. Wiley drew attention as the only progressive running whose campaign has avoided public controversy and scandal, climbing to second in an early June PIX11/News Nation/Emerson College poll, right around when she was endorsed by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
Yang entered the primary as perhaps the best-known candidate and was the campaign’s fundraising frontrunner, but appeared to be slipping from the top spot as the cycle wore on. In the BOE results available on the morning of June 30, Yang was in fourth with closer to 11.66% of the first-round vote. He conceded the race Tuesday night at his election-night party, as NBC 4 New York reported.
Several other candidates — like Raymond McGuire, Shaun Donovan, Scott Stringer, and Diane Morales — have also made names for themselves on the mayoral campaign trail. But, as of the morning of June 30, only one of them made it above 5% of the vote in the early results.
As explained by The City, the public advocate is an official watchdog role, an elected position designed to advocate for members of the public as members lodge complaints about city systems and issues like housing. It’s an interesting position, especially as former NYC public advocates have gone on to higher offices, including current mayor Bill de Blasio and state attorney general Letitia James.
According to BOE unofficial first-round results available on June 30, incumbent Jumaane Williams appears to have cruised to a landslide victory. Williams, who included de Blasio on his list of the city’s worst landlords in 2020, had a lead of over 340,000 votes on the second-place candidate.
According to The City, there are two other candidates on the Democratic ballot: Tony Herbert, whose website highlights his roles in major public housing organizations, and Theo Chino, whose website says he is a member of the French Socialist Party and that he saw abuse of power in New York’s state Bitcoin regulations after stating his own Bitcoin business.
Meanwhile, Devi Nampiaparampil, whose website lists her work experience as a doctor specializing in pain management treatments at Veterans’ Affairs in Hudson Valley and Manhattan, won an uncontested Republican primary.
Like the public advocate, the comptroller is an official watchdog position, but one that specifically focuses on the city’s finances. The incumbent is Scott Stringer, who isn’t seeking reelection because he’s currently running in the mayoral Democratic primary, though his campaign has been marred by sexual misconduct scandals.
According to unofficial first-round results available on June 30, Brad Lander had 31.31% of the vote and a lead over second-place Corey Johnson at 22.54%. Lander was a cofounder of the city council's progressive caucus and endorsed by several other unions, AOC, and senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Johnson is the current speaker of the New York city council. The duo of city council progressives are out in front. The only other candidate over 10% in the earliest available first-round results is Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, a former finance reporter who challenged AOC for her congressional seat in a Democratic primary last year.
According to The City, BOE records report there are uncontested candidates in the Republican and Conservative primaries, Daby Carreras and Paul Rodriguez respectively. But, like the mayor’s race, the field is much more crowded in the Democratic lane, with several other candidates vying for the job. They are:
According to Ballotpedia, all five boroughs — the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island — have Democratic primaries for borough president. As explained by the City, these five officials can fund local programs, introduce bills to the city council, help appoint community boards, and serve as champions for their part of the city.
Many of these primaries are still very close between top candidates with incomplete first-round counts. But according to unofficial first-round BOE results available June 30, Bernie-backed candidate Antonio Reynoso has a substantial lead in the first-round count for the Brooklyn borough president race. The winner will succeed mayoral candidate Adams in the role. Meanwhile, there are close first-round contests in Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx.
New York’s City Council is composed of 51 seats and they’re all up for reelection this year. Nearly all have a primary election, as well; according to the City, 35 of the seats are up for grabs due to term limits and only two of the remaining incumbents don’t have primary challengers. In response, the City reported that hundreds of candidates threw their hats in the ring.
There are too many candidates to individually cover, but it’s worth noting that there are hopes that the high turnover could open the door for a wave of progressive city councilors. The New York Times reported that some hope a more left-leaning city council could check a more moderate mayor, should the Democratic nominee end up being more centrist. And a Daily News report from June 27 indicated that the city council could become majority women depending on how the results shake out.
We’ll try to give you a sense of how the council is shaping up as the dust settles in the coming days.
Editor's Note: This is a developing story and will be updated.
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Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue