The New York mayoral race took an extraordinary turn on Wednesday as lead candidate Eric Adams gave reporters a tour of a Brooklyn apartment he owns, as rival campaigns questioned his place of residence and his aptitude for the office.
A day after a Politico New York story raised questions and highlighted apparent differences over where Brooklyn Borough President Mr. Adams resides when he’s not sleeping in Brooklyn Borough Hall – he owns properties in Brooklyn and Fort Lee, NJ, according to the report. – Mr Adams held a moving press conference outside a residence in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, joined by his son Jordan.
“How stupid would someone have to be to run for mayor of New York City and live in another municipality,” Adams said.
The highly unusual event unfolded as the race entered a tumultuous and increasingly resentful final stretch, less than two weeks before the Democratic primary on June 22 which will almost certainly determine the city’s next mayor. Mr Adams, a former police captain, has topped a number of recent polls as he delivers a public safety-focused message, but the race looks fluid even in the past few days.
A Spectrum News NY1 / Ipsos poll released earlier this week showed Mr Adams leading the Democratic field, followed by Andrew Yang, the former presidential candidate, and Kathryn Garcia, the former sanitation commissioner .
But the poll was conducted in the second half of May, and there has been little data since to capture how a number of major recent developments are registering with voters, including endorsement by Representative Alexandria Ocasio on Saturday. – Get out of Maya D. Wiley, a former lawyer. to Mayor Bill de Blasio. Jumaane D. Williams, the New York City public attorney, backed Ms. Wiley on Wednesday.
Questions about how Mr. Adams spends his time when he’s not on the campaign trail introduced a new element of uncertainty into the race and offered fresh food to his opponents. Early voting begins on Saturday.
“Eric Adams has a problematic record of not being completely honest or transparent with New York voters,” Garcia said in a statement Wednesday. “As we recover from Covid, the last thing we need is a career politician with a hidden agenda at town hall. Our city cannot recover if the mayor lacks integrity.
Scott M. Stringer, the city comptroller, asked Mr. Adams to release documents relating to his residence.
And in a rare cross-campaign committee demonstration, Mr. Yang’s campaign co-directors on Wednesday released a list of questions for Mr. Adams which, they noted, was intended to add to questions raised by the Ms. Wiley’s team the day before.
“Why would anyone vote for a candidate who can’t even be honest about where he lives?” Asked Sasha Ahuja and Chris Coffey, Mr. Yang’s campaign managers, as they detailed a list of ethical issues. “How are the traffic problems in Fort Lee?” What are you hiding? “
A day earlier, Ms Wiley’s campaign manager, Maya Rupert, had asked, “WTF?!?! Does Eric Adams live in New Jersey?
A crowd of reporters gathered outside Mr Adams’ townhouse in Bedford-Stuyvesant, where a table was set with coffee and vegan pastries for reporters. (Mr. Adams is a vocal vegan.)
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At one point, Mr Adams appeared unable to speak for over a minute as he told a story that he had been shot while speaking out on racism in the police department, days only after the birth of his son.
Mr Adams said that was the reason he had tried to keep his family life a secret.
“I realized that the life I was leading, my advocacy, was going to take away his father,” he said. “During my entire police career, none of my colleagues knew that I had a son. I wanted to protect him from the reality of what I was doing. I have become very private.
As he led reporters to the basement where the bedroom is located, Mr Adams warned reporters to be careful of the squeaky first step. There was a pair of African masks on the ledge of the stairs that looked ready to hang and a dusty smoke detector. A vacuum cleaner and a broom were at the bottom of the stairs.
The room smelled a bit damp and there were suit jackets in the closet. There were three pairs of sneakers on a ledge next to her bed and a few pairs of slippers next to her closet. The blue comforter on the bed was crumpled and there were at least five pillows.
Even though Mr. Adams found himself on the defensive on residency matters, there were also signs of his continued political strength: a major Hasidic faction backed Mr. Adams overnight as his first choice for mayor. , reported The Forward, after the Yang campaign previously indicated he had the support of both Satmar factions in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
On the other side of the race’s ideological spectrum, Dianne Morales, a former nonprofit executive, was once a left-base favorite. But her campaign has seen significant domestic unrest in recent weeks, which could benefit Ms Wiley as she seeks to consolidate support for the left.
On Wednesday, more than 40 workers were made redundant, according to a tweet from a union staff representative for Ms. Morales’ campaign.
Anne Barnard and Jazmine Hughes contributed reporting.