Eight years ago, Anthony Weiner was a viable candidate for mayor of New York.
It’s true, he had resigned from the House of Representatives in disgrace two years earlier for sending lewd photos of himself to women, including over social media (and publicly denying it). But, by the summer of 2013, it seemed as if a reborn and re-energized Weiner might convince the city to give him another chance, and he briefly rose to the top of the polls. By that July, however, the name “Carlos Danger” was uncovered and Weiner’s political ambitions were dead.
Many opinion makers the same year assumed that Christine Quinn would be a safe bet to be the first woman to hold the office. Quinn was speaker of the City Council and got the endorsements of The New York Times, the New York Post and Daily News, not to mention former Mayor Ed Koch and former Democratic mayoral nominee Ruth Messinger. Quinn finished third in the primary.
Names like Alec Baldwin and Mort Zuckerman were bandied about, but they never wound up on the ballot.
So, once the votes were counted, Bill de Blasio was head and shoulders above the nearest competition, even if that was never obvious when the contest began.
If anything, New York is approaching 2021 with even greater mystery surrounding who will be the next mayor. There is no obvious person waiting in the wings, and more than 30 candidates have declared. They will have to deal with transportation, housing, zoning, taxes, carbon emissions, and a million other things that affect the city’s built environment and its inhabitants.
As we approach the primary we’re going to be speaking one-on-one to the candidates and discussing the issues that will no doubt keep the 110th mayor of New York City busy.
Yang started out as an attorney — he’s a Columbia Law School graduate — and then worked in the health care industry before becoming an investor and executive in technology startups in 2000. The upstate New York native’s best-known company was Manhattan Prep, which specializes in preparing people for exams, where he was CEO. Yang’s mayoral campaign has emphasized reforming schools, improving mass transit, and instituting a universal basic income for New Yorkers.Dem
Adams has been Brooklyn borough president since 2014, and, before that, spent two decades with the New York City Police Department. The John Jay College of Criminal Justice graduate and Brownsville, Brooklyn, native started out as a transit cop. After the transit police merged into the rest of the Police Department, Adams worked at police precincts in Greenwich Village, Greenpoint, Fort Greene and Clinton Hill. Adams also served four terms as a state senator from 2006 to 2013, representing parts of central Brooklyn.Dem
McGuire was one of the longest-serving Black executives on Wall Street before leaving a top job at Citigroup last year to run for mayor. After growing up in Dayton, Ohio, he earned his bachelor’s and dual business and law degrees from Harvard University. He did stints at Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch before landing at Citigroup in 2005, where he rose to head of global corporate and investment banking. McGuire’s campaign prioritizes wage subsidies for small businesses, increased city cooperation with tech companies, and major infrastructure investments.Dem
Wiley is a professor and senior vice president for social justice at the New School. She was Mayor Bill de Blasio’s legal counsel for two and a half years, and then served for a year as chair of the Civilian Complaint Review Board, a New York Police Department watchdog. Before either of those roles, the Columbia Law graduate was an assistant U.S. attorney in the civil division of the Southern District of New York. Wiley, born and raised in D.C., is also a paid analyst for MSNBC. Her campaign has emphasized criminal justice reform and ending evictions.Dem
Donovan was commissioner of the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development from 2004 to 2009. He then served for more than five years as secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and three years as director of the federal Office of Management and Budget. Donovan was born on the Upper East Side and lives in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. He earned three degrees from Harvard University, and has emphasized affordable housing development and business-friendly policies in his campaign.Dem
Garcia spent six years as the city’s sanitation commissioner before resigning in September to run for mayor. The Park Slope native and University of Wisconsin-Madison grad got her start in government at the city’s Department of Environmental Protection in 2006. She served as sanitation chief from 2014 into 2020, and was appointed interim chair of the New York City Housing Authority in early 2019. At the start of the pandemic, too, she ran a city effort to feed 1.5 million New Yorkers daily. Her campaign has focused on economic recovery, improving transit, and building affordable housing.Dem
Morales has spent the past 17 years running nonprofits, starting with youth organization The Door and, for nearly 11 years, the social services organization Phipps Neighborhoods, until January 2020. Bolstered with master’s degrees in education from Columbia University and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, she helped launch the city Department of Education’s Office of Youth Development, which she ran from 2002 to 2004. The Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, native and resident’s mayoral campaign is focused in particular on socioeconomic equity.Dem
Rapper-turned-social-media-personality Paperboy Prince first caught the public’s attention when he released the song and video for “Yang Gang Anthem” in 2019. Then, last year, Prince, who is nonbinary, decided to run against 14-term U.S. Rep. Nydia Velasquez, who represents parts of Brooklyn and Queens, and Manhattan’s Lower East Side. While the congressional run failed, the University of Maryland graduate parlayed that into a mayoral run that pushes for canceling rent, abolishing the police, and building better public housing.Dem
Menchaca has spent the last seven years on the City Council, representing a diverse swath of southern Brooklyn that stretches from Red Hook to Windsor Terrace and Borough Park. The El Paso, Tex., native and University of San Francisco graduate worked in former Brooklyn borough President Marty Markowitz’s office from 2005 to 2011, and then spent two years as a liaison to the LGBTQ community in then-City Council speaker Christine Quinn’s office. He claims to be the first openly gay elected official in Brooklyn and the first Mexican-American elected official statewide. His campaign is prioritizing police reforms, repairs to the city’s public housing, and improving bike infrastructure.Dem
Kavovit is the founder and CEO of Midtown-based Evergreen Construction, one of the few female-owned construction companies in the commercial real estate industry. She is best known, however, as a former regular on Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New York City.” The Bronx-born State University of New York-Oswego graduate has emphasized returning New York to not only its pre-COVID status, but also told The New York Times in January that “the city was the best version of itself” under mayors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg.Dem
Stringer has been in public office since 1993, when he was elected to represent much of Manhattan’s West Side in the state Assembly. In 2005, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice graduate was elected to the first of two terms as Manhattan borough president, and has been the city’s comptroller — essentially its chief investment officer — since 2014. Stringer’s mayoral campaign has emphasized transit improvements and affordable housing development.Dem
The Guardian Angels, which Sliwa founded, were the self-appointed garrisons of public safety when the city was experiencing a crime wave in the 1970s and 1980s. (Sliwa himself was kidnapped and shot in the early 1990s.) In March, Sliwa took a hiatus from his populist radio show to run for mayor on the Republican ticket and quickly garnered an endorsement from the Staten Island GOP. While he has focused his campaign on crime, in his announcement he said his bid was an attempt to “resurrect us from the eight years of Bill de Blasio.”Rep
Fernando Mateo founded a jobs training program, the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers, and two restaurants before deciding to run for mayor in February. He also advocates for bodega owners via the United Bodegas of America. More recently, he started two Latin restaurants — the scandal-plagued La Marina in Inwood, which filed for bankruptcy in 2019, and Zona de Cuba in the South Bronx.Rep