NYC mayoral primary: Democrat Eric Adams holds initial lead, Andrew Yang concedes

Eric Adams.
(Image credit: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

New York City voters hit the polls Tuesday for the mayoral primaries, but they won't know which Democrat won for several weeks.

A brand new ranked-choice voting system allows New Yorkers to pick up to five candidates in order of preference. With ranked choice, even if a voter's No. 1 pick doesn't have enough support to win, they are still able to boost their other preferred candidates. If a candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, ranked choice doesn't come into play.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all voters had the option to mail in their ballots. The winner likely won't be known until mid-July because a ranked-choice analysis can't take place until after the deadline to receive absentee ballots. About 87,000 absentee ballots have been received that need to be counted, and many more are expected to arrive by mail in the next several days.

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As of early Wednesday, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is leading the 13 Democratic candidates. With 90 percent of in-person votes counted, Adams, a former police captain, is the No. 1 choice on 31 percent of the ballots. In second place with 22 percent is Maya Wiley, a civil rights lawyer, closely followed by former city sanitation chief Kathryn Garcia, who has 20 percent of the vote.

Andrew Yang, the entrepreneur and former Democratic presidential candidate, conceded on Tuesday night after coming in fourth. "I am a numbers guy," he told supporters. "And I am not going to be the next mayor of New York City based on the numbers that have come in tonight."

Due to term limits, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) is not running again. In the Republican primary, there were just two candidates, and Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels patrol group, defeated businessman Fernando Mateo.

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.