AOC-backed liberal Maya Wiley surges into second place in some polls for NYC mayor’s race

One of the most liberal candidates in New York City‘s upcoming mayoral race, Maya Wiley, is surging into second place according to some polls, with progressive groups coalescing behind her.  

Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams remains the one to beat, but Wiley’s ‘defund the police’ platform is worrying some New Yorkers as the city faces a summer crime wave with random attacks on fearful residents both in the streets and on the city’s subway. 

In what could have been her chance to put those fears to rest, during a final debate between the candidates earlier this week, Wiley decided not to raise her hand when the candidates were asked if they would put more cops on subway cars, despite a violent rise in stabbings and attacks. 

New York Mayoral candidate Maya Wiley is gaining in the latest mayoral poll 

A new poll puts Adams out in front for next week's primary election but with Maya Wiley surging into second place from third. The mayoral election is set for November

A new poll puts Adams out in front for next week’s primary election but with Maya Wiley surging into second place from third. The mayoral election is set for November

Earlier in her campaign, Wiley was forced to deny that she intends to disarm NYPD cops after refusing to commit to a position during an earlier debate. 

Wiley – a former de Blasio administration official and member of the Civilian Complaint Review Board – presents herself as a reformer, and advocates cutting one billion dollars from the NYPD’s budget and reform how the department operates. 

Wiley, who has been endorsed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Elizabeth Warren, responded at the time: ‘I am not prepared to make that decision in a debate.

‘I am going to have a civilian commissioner and a civilian commission that is going to hold the police accountable and ensure we’re safe from crime but also from police violence,’ she said.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks at a rally last week where she endorsed progressive candidates, including Maya Wiley, in upcoming election for city wide offices in City Hall Park

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks at a rally last week where she endorsed progressive candidates, including Maya Wiley, in upcoming election for city wide offices in City Hall Park

Wiley is also supported by the Working Families Party who announced she was their favored candidate having pulled its support for two other progressives on the ballot, Comptroller Scott Stringer and Dianne Morale. 

A recent poll by PIX-11 suggested 23% of voters would choose Adams, followed by 18% for Wiley.  

Former city Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia came third with 17%. Yang was just behind in fourth with 14%.

During the last poll on May 25 Wiley drew in just 9% of respondents. 

She has spoken openly of her plans to overhaul the New York Police Department that she claims is filled with bureaucratic waste.

Wiley has said she wants to move $1 billion from its budget to community resources. 

She also plans to appoint a civilian as the NYPD commissioner and reduce the department’s 35,000 officers by roughly 2,500.    

‘Black and brown New Yorkers both experience higher crime rates, lower resolution in solving crime and more bad experiences with police officers,’ Wiley said to the Wall Street Journal during an interview.  

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea has said the department is including hiring more people of color as officers and has urged against spending cuts. 

The New York Post declared Wiley to be a ‘clueless radical’ in an editorial on Friday.

‘Clueless radicals, like Wiley, Morales and Stringer, care more about their anti-police ideology than about poor, minority victims, even as they pretend they care the most. Indeed, Wiley would actually shift funds away from the very people — cops — who protect poor, minority neighborhoods. She’s even open to taking guns away from cops.’

Amid a deluge of criticism, Wiley has attempted to insist that she does not intend to strip cops of their service weapons. 

Elsewhere, Wiley has promised to create more affordable housing and improve education inequity in public schools. 

In her five-year, $10 billion spending plan called ‘New Deal New York’ she claims she would be able to help the city recover from the pandemic through development, infrastructure repairs and the creation of 100,000 jobs. 

Four of the other candidates, Eric Adams, Kathryn Garcia, Scott Stringer and Andrew Yang, have pledged to bolster the NYPD. 

Violent crimes across NYC are spiking at a worrying rate and all of the candidates are campaigning on the issue. The Manhattan South police district, seen in the above charts, covers the key tourist area in and around Times Square

Violent crimes across NYC are spiking at a worrying rate and all of the candidates are campaigning on the issue. The Manhattan South police district, seen in the above charts, covers the key tourist area in and around Times Square

Democratic candidates clash in final debate before New York mayoral primary 

The Democratic candidates in New York’s Mayoral race clashed on policing, race and what kind of foods should be allowed in the city in their final debate ahead of the primary next week, with one candidate telling her black opponent that he ‘doesn’t speak for minorities’ in his criticism of defunding cops – even though he is black.

Front-runner Eric Adams, a former NYPD cop who has been endorsed by George Floyd‘s brother, was slammed by his opponents for his promise to bring back stop-and-frisk and the controversial anti-crime unit that de Blasio disbanded last June in the heat of the BLM movement. 

Maya Wiley, one of the most liberal candidates who is ranking third in the polls, didn’t raise her hand when all of the candidates were asked if they’d put more cops on subway cars amid a surge in violent public transit crime

Neither did Dianne Morales, who wants to cut the NYPD’s budget by $3billion, or Scott Stringer. 

The other candidates did raise their hands.  

When asked what she’d ban in the city, Wiley said ‘every sugary drink’ because her kids ‘love them’. 

Adams said he’d get rid of processed meat, whereas Yang said he’d crackdown on the ‘those ATVs that are terrorizing our streets right now.’ 

In one of the most memorable moments from the debate, long-shot contender Dianne Morales fumed at opponent Raymond McGuire –  a black businessman – telling him he ‘didn’t speak for minorities’ when he said ‘black and brown communities do not want to defund the police.’  

Morales wants to cut another $3billion from the NYPD’s budget. McGuire said he disagreed and so did others in the black and brown communities. He said defunding the police would ‘end in disaster’ for New Yorkers’.

Irate, she fired back at him: ‘How dare you assume to speak for black and brown communities as a monolith.’  

In one of the only moments of unanimity, none of the candidates said they’d hire outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio in any capacity in their administrations. 

Adams said he wouldn’t give de Blasio a formal role but that he would seek his advice before taking office. 

None of the others said they’d hire him in any capacity, including Wiley, who used to work for him. 

Yang and Adams, two of the candidates who have received the most attention, traded blows over the Captains’ Endowment Association police union endorsing Yang over Adams, who used to be a cop. 

Yang said it showed Adams can’t be trusted, that his own union doesn’t even want to stand behind him. 

‘The people you should ask about this are his colleagues. They think I’m a better choice than Eric for keeping us and our families safe,’ Yang said.

Adams shot back that he never wanted their endorsement in the first place because the association once referred to George Floyd’s death as a ‘game’ in which they were being used as a pawn.

Yang and other candidates also slammed Adams for saying he’d be taking his gun to church after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting which claimed 11 lives in 2018. 

At the time, he hadn’t yet announced he was going to run. The day after the shooting, he said: ‘From now on, I will bring my handgun every time I enter a church or synagogue.’ 

The shooter was brought down by police. 

Adams wants to give the police more man-power by taking away their clerical duties to put them back on the street. He also wants to bring back stop-and-frisk – the controversial practice that many dubbed racist and a means of racial profiling – but says he’ll never let anyone be ‘abused’ by it. 

Kathryn Garcia doesn’t want to defund the police but she does want to raise the recruitment age of the NYPD from 21 to 25. 

She said on Wednesday night: ‘To be quite honest with you, these are complicated times, and several of my opponents are using #DefundThePolice. 

‘I just don’t think that’s the right approach.’ 

She also wants to make the city entirely reliant on renewable energy. 

Yang, who wants to give out $1billion in COVID relief and establish a universal base income for New Yorkers, was accused of dreaming up generous schemes that he’d have to pay for with ‘monopoly money’. 

The primary is on June 22 and will decide who is the Democratic candidate in November’s election. 

New York City hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 2001, when Rudy Giuliani was replaced by Michael Bloomberg. 

There are only two Republican candidates to consider; Fernando Mateo, who wants to add 20,000 to the NYPD, and Curtis Sliwa, the head of the Guardian Angels.  

Adams, a former police captain who also co-founded a leadership group for black officers, has risen to the top of most polls as issues of crime and policing have dominated recent mayoral debates. 

The race remains tight, though, with 2020 presidential candidate Yang, former city sanitation commissioner Garcia, city Comptroller Stringer and civil rights attorney Wiley the top contenders in a field of 13 candidates on the Democratic ballot.

Stringer said he would cut at least $1billion over four years through measures such as transferring mental health response to non-police crisis teams and reducing police overtime.

Garcia has not called for cutting the police budget, but says officers’ minimum age should be increased from 21 to 25 and new recruits should be required to live in the city.

Yang backs a police residency requirement as well as beefed up oversight of the department, but rejects calls to defund the police.  

Yang is campaigning alongside Kathryn Garcia on Saturday in Queens. It marks the first time in the race that two candidates have gone out together.   

Many of the most common types of crime in the city, including robberies, burglaries and grand larcenies, remain near historic lows, but through the first five months of 2021, the total number of major crimes measured by the police department has been at its lowest level since comparable statistics became available in the 1990s.

But since the spring of 2020 the number of shootings has soared.

Through June 6, there were 181 homicides in New York City, up from 121 in the same period in 2019, an increase of 50 percent. 

That’s the worst start to a year since 2011.

At least 687 people were wounded or killed by gunfire through June 6. That’s not historically bad. 

More than 2,400 people were shot during the same period in 1993. 

But it is the highest number for a winter and early spring since 2000. 

The mayoral primary is especially hard to predict because the city is debuting ranked choice voting, with voters ranking up to five candidates.   

Democrats dominate in New York City, and the winner of the party’s primary is considered highly likely to win the general election in November and succeed Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The Republican primary features Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa and Fernando Mateo, a restaurant owner and advocate for taxi drivers. 

The leading NYC mayor candidates

Eric Adams

Eric Adams

Eric Adams – Democrat 

Former cop, current Brooklyn Borough President

Promises: Reinstate crime-unit in NYPD, free cops up from paperwork and let them get back on the streets, appoint female NYPD Commissioner 

Endorsed by: George Floyd’s brother Terrence  

Andrew Yang

Andrew Yang

Andrew Yang – Democrat 

Businessman and one-time failed Presidential hopeful. 

Promises: $1bn COVID relief cash program, bring back tourism 

Endorsed by: Elon Musk endorsed him for President  

Maya Wiley

Maya Wiley

Maya Wiley – Democrat 

Lawyer, professor, civil rights activist, former de Blasio advisor 

Promises: Defund the NYPD, launch city-wide affordable healthcare plan in New York City, build more affordable housing and more schools 

Endorsed by: AOC 

Kathryn Garcia

Kathryn Garcia

Kathryn Garcia – Democrat

Former Sanitation Commissioner

Promises: Raise age of police recruitment from 21 to 25, make NYC rely fully on renewable energy 

Endorsed by: The New York Times 

Curtis Sliwa

Curtis Sliwa

Curtis Sliwa – Republican 

Founder of the vigilante group The Guardian Angels

Promises: Reinstate the scrapped anti-crime unit in the NYPD. 

He has been independent for most of his life but registered Republican in February.

Fernando Mateo

Fernando Mateo 

Fernando Mateo – Republican 

Mateo is a small business owner, President of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers and a spokesperson for the United Bodegas of America

Mateo founded the Toys for Guns program in 1993 that gave out toys at Christmas for guns that were handed in to try to get them off the streets. 

Promises: Add another 20,000 cops to the 35,000 already in the NYPD  


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