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NYC's Democratic Mayoral Primary Winner To Be Decided By Ranked-Choice System

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Former police captain Eric Adams is leading primary night returns for the Democratic nomination for New York City mayor. But under the new ranked-choice voting system the city is using, this race is far from over. Member station WNYC's Brigid Bergin reports.

(CROSSTALK)

BRIGID BERGIN, BYLINE: Eric Adams says he knows it will take time to finalize the results, but for now, he's basking in his current lead.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ERIC ADAMS: New York City said, our first choice is Eric Adams.

(CHEERING)

BERGIN: In a race that began in the midst of the pandemic and ended as the city saw a spike in gun violence, the former cop ran hard on a promise to reform policing while fighting crime.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ADAMS: You don't know this; I know this. I am going to keep this city safe.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (Chanting) Maya, Maya, Maya.

BERGIN: His next closest finisher, Maya Wiley, offered voters a vastly different approach to public safety. The candidate of the progressive left, she has pledged to reallocate $1 billion of the police department's $6 billion budget.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MAYA WILEY: You must be accountable to every one of us here.

(CHEERING, CROSSTALK)

WILEY: Because this is not a false choice.

BERGIN: Coming in a close third is Kathryn Garcia, the city's former sanitation commissioner. She spoke directly to the new ranked-choice voting system, which allowed voters to choose up to five candidates in order of preference. Garcia says since the tallies will transfer votes to front-runners as last place finishers get eliminated, the race is still wide open.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

KATHRYN GARCIA: This is going to be about not only the ones but also about the twos and threes. And to be quite honest with you, we're not going to know a whole lot more tonight than we know now.

BERGIN: That's because elections officials won't rank results until next week, and even then, they don't expect them to be final until mid-July. One person who is not winning the race is former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang. He came in fourth and conceded he couldn't win the nomination.

For NPR News, I'm Brigid Bergin in New York.

(SOUNDBITE OF DAMU THE FUDGEMUNK'S "PERPETUAL PURPOSE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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