Labor leaders say Kathryn Garcia making potential NYC mayoral run rounds, but Garcia denies it

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Kathryn Garcia, who ran a failed bid in 2021 to become mayor and is now a top aide to Gov. Hochul, is reaching out to labor unions in what’s being viewed as the groundwork for a potential City Hall run – and is letting them know her boss is aware of her political temperature taking, two well-placed sources told the Daily News.

According to two labor leaders, Garcia reached out to their respective unions after state Sen. Zellnor Myrie announced earlier this month he’s exploring a run for mayor.”

“She was very much dancing around the edges of saying I’m running without saying it,” one of the leaders said. “The Zellnor announcement obviously kicked things up a notch.”

But Garcia denied that account Wednesday morning, telling The News it is “absolutely not true.”

“Everybody seems to want drama,” she said.

Garcia said she’s spoken to three unions since Myrie’s exploratory announcement, but none of those discussions involved a potential mayoral run.

“I’ve talked to them about work because we have work,” she said.

As it now stands, Adams could potentially face two challengers in the Democratic primary next year – former city Comptroller Scott Stringer, who also ran a failed campaign for mayor in 2021, and Myrie. Both of them have announced they’re exploring mayoral runs and have formed committees giving them the ability to raise campaign contributions.

Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, state Sen. Jessica Ramos and the current city Comptroller Brad Lander have also been the subject of persistent rumors that they too are considering City Hall runs.

While Hochul Wednesday declined to say whether she’d endorse Mayor Adams’ re-election run in 2025, she reiterated her support for the mayor.

“We are going to assess everything,” she said, noting that the election is still a year off. “I will tell you this – and you can read into it however you like – we are very strong allies in working together. I’m not saying that about anybody else.”

The labor sources, who spoke under condition of anonymity out of fear of political retribution, said Garcia did not explicitly say she’s going to run for mayor, but that she positioned herself as a strong moderate alternative to Adams, whose campaign and administration members are facing investigations on the federal, state and city levels. Adams has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

“Keep her in mind,” was the message conveyed, said one source, who spoke to The News under the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive conversation.

A second labor leader, who’s affiliated with a separate union, described a similar exchange.

“She didn’t say I’ve made a decision. She was definitely not like, ‘I’m running,’ but like, put a placemark in it. She made it clear that she’s considering it, and I don’t want people to forget my name,” the source said.

Both sources told The News that Garcia made it clear Hochul is aware of her conversations.

“I would think if she’s making a call like that, she’s expecting it, in one shape or form, to get back to the governor.”

That could threaten to strain relations between Hochul and Adams, who’ve publicly taken great pains to appear friendly after the famously strained relationship between their predecessors, former Cuomo and former Mayor Bill de Blasio.

A City Hall spokesman for Adams declined to comment on the union leaders’ claims, and a spokesman for Hochul did not immediately respond to questions from The News.

A political consultant who’s supportive of Adams predicted a Garcia run would draw attention to Hochul’s policies in the city – and that it would not go well, given the state’s handling of the migrant crisis and public safety.

“It’s just not good politically for the governor for Garcia to run because her candidacy will become a referendum on [Hochul’s] successes and failures,” said the consultant, who asked to remain anonymous to discuss a sensitive political situation. “Fair or not, it will resonate and it will fracture her relationship with the mayor.”

Garcia told The News Wednesday that she’s not focused on a mayoral run, but political sources have been buzzing about that possibility for months. In December, a former adviser to Garcia, Matthew Wing, told the New York Times she might be open to a run if Adams were to step down, which would force a special election.

“In the chaos of a special election, New York City will need stability over political spectacle,” Wing said at the time. “There’s only one leader in the potential field ready to meet the moment with competence, character and deep-rooted city management experience, which is perhaps why Kathryn stands out.”

On Wednesday, Garcia maintained she has not been proactive in pursuing a run.

“I have absolutely not reached out to anyone,” she said.