© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: New York City’s Democratic mayoral candidate Andrew Yang speaks during a rally against Asian hate crimes following the May 31, 2021, unprovoked attack on a 55-year-old Asian woman in the Chinatown district of Manhattan in New York City, USA.
By Joseph Ax
(Reuters) – Top Democratic contenders for New York City mayor, former presidential candidate Andrew Yang and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, faced fierce attacks from each other and half a dozen rivals during a televised debate on Thursday Wednesday.
With less than three weeks to go until the June 22 primary election, the eight contenders exchanged criticism on education, experience and the economy, although the issue of public safety dominated much of the night amid a surge in shootings and other crimes. . The winner of the primaries will be the top favorite to win the November general election.
Yang, who has been at or near the top of most polls, was the target of much of the incoming fire. At one point, city comptroller Scott Stringer, a liberal candidate, accused the more moderate Yang of being a “Republican,” while Maya Wiley, a civil rights lawyer and former MSNBC analyst, criticized the job creation record of Yang as an entrepreneur.
Yang, whose cheerful disposition has been a hallmark of his campaign, snapped some photos of Adams, a former police officer and state legislator who has faced some ethical inquiries during his career.
“We know you’ve been investigated for corruption everywhere you’ve been,” Yang said, calling Adams “unprincipled.”
Adams, who denied wrongdoing and accused Yang of wrongdoing, attacked Yang for leaving the city during the pandemic and for not voting earlier in municipal elections.
“How the hell did we make you our mayor, with a track record like this?” Adams asked. Yang responded by defending his experience as a stand-in for National Democrats, including President Joe Biden, during last year’s election.
Kathryn Garcia, the former sanitation chief who has gained traction over Adams and Yang in recent weeks, largely stayed out of the fray as she continued to offer herself as a seasoned government hand.
The candidates spent much of the two-hour debate confronting the police and crime, and polls show that public safety is the primary concern of voters. As shootings and killings have increased in New York and other cities, many Democrats have turned away from calls to “defund the police” that gained traction amid protests against police brutality last year.
Adams, who has put crime at the center of his campaign, vowed to increase the number of officers patrolling the city’s subway system, while Yang called for a “massive recruitment drive” for new officers.
Stringer, however, argued that more policing was not the answer, while Dianne Morales, a former liberal and nonprofit executive who supports police underfunding, called the NYPD budget the “most inflated “of the country.
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