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2021 Mayoral Campaign

Ice Cold: Kathryn Garcia Refuses To Return Andrew Yang’s Ranked-Choice Boost

Candidates Andrew Yang and Kathryn Garcia stand side by side behind a podium in Lower Manhattan.

The lopsided sign ratio tells the tale. Photo: Streetsblog

Late June is sweltering, but New York City politics are ice cold.

On Saturday, Kathryn Garcia and Andrew Yang held events together in Flushing and Lower Manhattan. Both candidates were clear that they were not technically endorsing each other, but supporting the kind of comity that ranked-choice voting is supposed to encourage. But while Yang specifically told his supporters to rank Garcia on their ballots, the StreetsPAC-endorsed candidate and former Sanitation commissioner refused to return the favor.

"We are campaigning together, we are promoting ranked choice voting," Garcia told reporters on 14th Street and Avenue A, speaking of the person she once said was too inexperienced to be mayor. "I am not telling my voters what to do; I want them to get out there and I want them to use the system that we have for ranked choice."

For months, Yang has complimented Garcia's management skills and said he would consider hiring her in his administration, comments that Garcia thought were sexist. On Saturday, Yang continued to heap praise on Garcia, calling her a "massive upgrade" compared to the other candidates in the race.

"You have absolutely nothing to be concerned about where Kathryn's motivations, integrity, or trustworthiness are concerned. She's a good person. She's running for mayor because she's served the city for years," Yang said. "I would urge anyone who is supporting me for their first choice, please do have Kathryn Garcia on your ballot."

The most that Garcia would offer was the assurance that she and Yang were both running "from a real place of wanting to give back to a city that we both love."

"That I have been a public servant and you have been a business owner, brings to that different perspectives. But this is not driven by ego, this is really driven by a desire to see this city thrive," Garcia added.

Not surprisingly, Eric Adams sees the alliance differently. The Brooklyn Borough President and his surrogates are claiming that the appearances are a calculated move to, in the words of Adams supporter Ashley Sharpton, "disenfranchise Black voters."

“I believe that they basically stated, the two of them are running together, they're saying to themselves: anyone but a person of color," Adams reportedly said.

Garcia declined to comment on Adams's remarks. "I would tell Eric Adams that I've been Asian my entire life," Yang said, and left it there.

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams said that Garcia's appearance with Yang was the final straw that convinced him to leave her off of his ballot, but for a different reason.

"As I have said recently, while I have concerns about multiple candidates, at this point I am singularly most concerned about Andrew Yang for Mayor," Williams said in a statement.

Recent polls suggest that Yang's stature has fallen significantly since the early spring, but he's still in the mix. With less than three days left until Primary Day, Adams is seen as the frontrunner, trailed closely by Garcia, and Maya Wiley, and Yang.

Garcia told a Republican voter in Brooklyn on Friday that she was not as "far to the left as de Blasio." Streetsblog asked her what she meant by that.

"This is really where there are certain policies where I have not agreed with him on, but there are others that I have. I'm not gonna go into detail about a former mayor's policies—"

"Former mayor?" Yang interjected, laughing. He also sidestepped the question of whether he saw himself to the left or right of Mayor de Blasio.

"I'd say that so many New Yorkers wanna turn the page on the de Blasio administration, we have to bring a real change to people and families who have been waiting way too long."

Yang's drop in the polls and Garcia's steady ascendance created a kind of role reversal at the press conference, in which the supposedly lobbyist-driven "empty vessel" was able to speak freely about the stilted situation he was in, while Garcia said nothing of any substance.

"We're running for mayor, we're in a position where, sometimes you're put in a position where you say things that everyone knows are somewhat political in nature," Yang admitted.

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