Eric Adams elected New York City mayor, defeating Curtis Sliwa

November 3, 2021
Eric Adams raises hands with Jumaane Williams, New York City Public Advocate, and Comptroller candidate Brad Lander during a Get Out the Vote rally in front of Brooklyn Borough Hall on October 22, 2021.

NEW YORK — Eric Adams, the former police captain who campaigned on a message of public safety, was elected New York City mayor Tuesday.

Adams will become New York’s second Black mayor and inherit a city at a pivotal time in its economic recovery from the pandemic.

Adams, a Democrat, defeated longshot Republican candidate Curtis Sliwa after he narrowly won his party’s nomination in June during a crowded Democratic primary.

The Brooklyn borough president and former state senator will replace the term-limited Mayor Bill de Blasio in January.

During the primary, Adams faced a number of progressive and moderate challengers but ultimately won with heavy support in lower-income, Black and Latino neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Queens.

“When you look at all the other mayors who have come up from where they came up from, there is no one like him. He is unique,” Sid Davidoff, a fixture in New York City politics and adviser to former Mayor John Lindsay, told USA TODAY in June.

Who is Eric Adams? What to know about the Democrat likely to become New York City’s next mayor.

Adams, 61, was born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens. While a teenager, he was beaten in police custody, which prompted his desire to become a police officer.

While in the New York Police Department, Adams had a reputation as vocal critic of discriminatory practices within policing. He served as the head of the Grand Council of Guardians, a Black officers’ group, and formed 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, which sought to fight racial profiling and police brutality while restoring trust among Black residents.

Adams’ stance on the police department has been more moderate than other Democrats in the city. While he supports trimming its budget and “civilianizing” sections that do not need to be staffed by officers, he also has backed the use of stop-and-frisk in some cases and reviving a disbanded anti-gun task force.

He also said he would appoint the first woman to head the NYPD in city history.

Beyond vowing to strengthen public safety, Adams has said he plans to make the city more friendly to businesses. “We have been defined as a business-enemy city instead of a business-friendly city,” he said in a September appearance on Bloomberg Radio. 

He has also backed increasing affordable housing options and services at hospitals to house people with mental illness experiencing homelessness. 

To combat the pandemic, he said he supports de Blasio’s vaccine mandate for city workers, including police officers, firefighters and EMTs. However, unlike de Blasio, Adams has also said he would require vaccines for students if the Food and Drug Administration gives full approval to a vaccine for children.

Adams also supports the “gifted and talented” program in the city’s schools, which de Blasio vowed to eliminate. The program requires a standardized test for 4-year-olds, and critics say it heightens educational inequalities, with white and Asian students making up a disproportionate share of its seats.

Primary drama:How NYC’s election board got primary election results so wrong

What’s next for Mayor Bill de Blasio? 

When asked Monday night during NY1’s “Inside City Hall” about his future political aspirations, de Blasio hinted at a possible run for governor that has been rumored in recent months.

“There’s a lot of changes, a lot of things that need to be fixed in Albany. … But I’m really looking forward to getting into this bigger discussion about where the state is going,” he said.

Politico reported Saturday de Blasio had finalized a filing with the state election board for a candidate committee to allow him to fundraise, though the forms did not specific for what office. The committee is called “New Yorkers for a Fair Future,” the report said.

A number of Democrats are reportedly interested in or have entered the race for governor after former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who sparred often with de Blasio, resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment. 

The crowded primary could feature Gov. Kathy Hochul and a number of New York City natives, including state Attorney General Letitia James and the city’s Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

Adams defeats longshot Republican candidate Curtis Sliwa

Sliwa, Adams’ opponent, did not stand much of a chance in a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans 7 to 1.

The Guardian Angels founder had described himself as a populist and sought to portray a “David versus Goliath” image against Adams.

Before running for mayor, Sliwa was well known in New York for his media antics and stunts, including faking crimes to fight for his Guardian Angels.

Sliwa opposed vaccine mandates and closing the Rikers Island jail complex. He also said he supported reversing police budget cuts and reducing the number of bike lanes in the city.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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