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Adams leads, Yang concedes in NYC mayor's race that now goes to ranking system

Brooklyn Borough President and New York City mayoral candidate Eric Adams speaks to the media after casting his vote in New York City on Tuesday. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Brooklyn Borough President and New York City mayoral candidate Eric Adams speaks to the media after casting his vote in New York City on Tuesday. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

June 22 (UPI) -- Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang dropped out of the New York City mayoral race on Tuesday night as it was projected the winner would be determined by ranked-choice voting.

Yang delivered a concession speech after he trailed Eric Adams, Maya Wiley and Kathryn Garcia in early vote tallies.

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"I am not going to be the mayor of New York City based on the numbers coming in tonight," Yang said.

Adams won a plurality (31%) from Democrats, according to preliminary official figures, but no candidate reached the 50% threshold to win outright, meaning a winner likely won't be announced for weeks as multiple elimination rounds in the ballot counting process are done.

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Wiley won 22% and Garcia almost 20%. Yang won 11.66%.

Under the new ranked-choice system, ballots are counted in a series of rounds. Since no one earned 50%, the candidate that places last among first choices is eliminated and voters who selected the eliminated candidate as their top choice will have their second choice counted.

"Democracy takes time and every vote counts," Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York, told The New York Times. "Accurate and fair election results are worth waiting for."

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Mayor Bill De Blasio, a Democrat, is barred from running for a third term. His successor will be elected during the general election on Nov. 2.

The race features more than a dozen Democrats and two Republicans, and voters for the first time will select a winner using ranked-choice voting.

Adams, a Brooklyn borough president and retired police officer, led recent pre-election polling, followed by Yang and then Garcia, a former New York City sanitation commissioner, in third place.

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Other top candidates in the race include City Comptroller Scott Stringer, nonprofit executive Dianne Morales, former Citigroup Vice Chairman Ray McGuire and Shaun Donovan, who was secretary of Housing and Urban Development under former President Barack Obama.

On the Republican side, Curtis Sliwa, a talk show host and founder of the Guardian Angels crime prevention group, defeated businessman and activist Fernando Mateo with almost 70% of the vote. Sliwa will face the winner of the Democratic primary in November. Mateo was the only other GOP candidate in the race.

Some primary factors in the race have been crime and policing, as well as how the nation's most populous city will continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. New York City is set to lift all restrictions next month.

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The police issue, as with most cities in the country, also weighed heavily. Morales, Wiley, a former civil rights attorney, Stringer and Donovan support cutting the New York City Police Department's budget, while Adams and Garcia do not.

Economically, Yang, who made a name for himself in the presidential race by proposing a universal basic income of $1,000 per month for every American, proposed a plan to provide $2,000 per year for about 500,000 low-income city residents.

Adams proposes a $1 billion plan to provide $4,000 per year to low-income residents through a tax credit.

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