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Democrat Eric Adams defeats Republican Curtis Sliwa in New York City mayoral election

Business Insider logo Business Insider 11/3/2021 gpanetta@businessinsider.com (Grace Panetta,Jake Lahut)
Republican candidate for New York City mayor, Curtis Sliwa, right, and Eric Adams, Brooklyn borough president and Democratic mayoral candidate smile after a debate at the ABC-7 studios in New York, Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. Eduardo Munoz/Pool Photo via AP © Eduardo Munoz/Pool Photo via AP Republican candidate for New York City mayor, Curtis Sliwa, right, and Eric Adams, Brooklyn borough president and Democratic mayoral candidate smile after a debate at the ABC-7 studios in New York, Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. Eduardo Munoz/Pool Photo via AP
  • Democrat Eric Adams defeated Republican Curtis Sliwa for mayor of New York City.
  • Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, will take over after 8 years of Bill De Blasio's leadership.
  • He will assume responsibility at a crucial phase in the city's COVID-19 recovery.

What's at stake:

Democrat Eric Adams defeated Republican Curtis Sliwa in New York's mayoral election on Tuesday.

The two candidates were vying to succeed current mayor Bill de Blasio, who spent two terms in office. Adams will take over the reins at an immensely challenging time for the city as it continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and rebuild its economy.

Adams, a former state senator currently serving as Brooklyn borough president, beat out numerous opponents including civil rights attorney Maya Wiley, Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang in the June primary, the first held under ranked-choice voting in New York City.

The primary showed the promise and potential of ranked-choice voting, but Adams was able to elbow out Garcia with just enough support from his coalition of outer-borough homeowners, Black voters, and labor unions.


Video: Democratic candidate Eric Adams likely to beat Republican Challenger Curtis Sliwa in NYC's mayoral election (MSNBC)

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Sliwa, a founder of the vigilante Guardian Angels group that patrolled the New York City subways with trademark red berets starting in the late 1970s, heavily emphasized public safety, tax reform, and animal rights in his campaign.

With registered Democrats outnumbering Republicans by around eight-to-one, Sliwa's path to victory was remote. Adams had largely taken his foot off of the campaign gas pedal in recent months, building his national profile with cable TV interviews and weighing in on issues of the day.

The tenor of the campaign between two candidates, who hold diametrically opposite positions on almost every major campaign issue, grew increasingly confrontational in the weeks leading up to the election, with debates between the two candidates often descending into searing insults and targeted personal potshots.

The Big Apple's lack of affordable housing and public safety were top issues for Adams, a former NYPD officer of 22 years. Adams, who attained the rank of captain, vocally pushed for reforms to improve diversity and treatment of Black officers in the force and clashed with the top brass many times in doing so. He is now promising to instill a new culture at the NYPD.

Major infrastructure projects underway across the boroughs also impacted the race. Some, like the East Access Tunnel, are nearing the finish line, while others hang in the balance as Congress debates what will end up in President Joe Biden's infrastructure bill.

Despite concerns over a depleted populous from the lows of the pandemic, New York City actually gained in population over 2020, according to the US Census.

However, once bustling office hubs such as Midtown and the Financial District are not back to where they were pre-pandemic, leading to knock-on issues caused by the lowered foot traffic. The city is also waging a multimillion dollar global tourism campaign, with Broadway shows and other mainstay attractions recently opening up.

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