Adams aligned himself with the Bronx Democratic machine and billionaire charter school proponents like Dan Loeb in a bid to oust progressive state Sen. Gustavo Rivera with attorney Miguelina Camilo. Despite the forces working against Rivera — who won the coveted backing of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — the incumbent declared victory Tuesday night.
“There is something distant in how the mayor reacts, almost as [if] the bubble he is in doesn’t actually touch what’s happening on the ground,” Camille Rivera, a political consultant who worked on Gustavo Rivera’s campaign, said in an interview. “He cut … our public school budget, endorsed against local elected officials with a history of delivering for their communities [and] last night, voters made clear just how out of step he was — both with his constituents and with reality.”
Rivera, who worked on Scott Stringer’s mayoral run against Adams last year, added: “Crypto bros and celebrities just don’t cut it,” referring to the mayor’s well-documented penchant for the high life and his interest in Bitcoin.
In his own district in Central Brooklyn, Adams came under fire for backing a reverend with a history of anti-Semitic remarks who expressed opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion — comments the mayor condemned, even as he stuck with his choice. That candidate, Conrad Tillard, was trounced by incumbent state Sen. Jabari Brisport, who is aligned with the Democratic Socialists of America.
“Incumbent State Senator Jabari Brisport easily beat back an Eric Adams-backed challenger, with an even stronger showing than in his last election, confirming that voters continue to support his commitment to taxing the rich, the Green New Deal, the New York Health Act, and fighting evictions through the empowerment of tenants statewide,” the city’s DSA chapter said in a statement.
And in Queens, Adams supported former City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley in a state Senate race she lost badly to Democratic Socialist Kristen Gonzalez.
Five of the mayor’s picks, including state Sen. Kevin Parker of Brooklyn and Staten Island Senate hopeful Jessica Scarcella-Spanton, won their races against opponents on their left in a late-summer primary with low turnout.
“When New Yorkers come out to vote, they elect moderate candidates like the mayor,” Thies said. “He follows his conscience in who he supports and will every time. The lesson of this very low turnout election is something all should agree on: We have to motivate voters to get out and vote.”
Polling has shown New Yorkers generally support the mayor’s push to reduce crime — an issue that has underscored his division with the left flank of the Democratic party.
The mayor was not alone in his picks: He was largely aligned with a Political Action Committee run by his friend and local pastor, Al Cockfield. The mayor spoke at an early fundraiser last year for the PAC — the existence of which was first reported by POLITICO.
A review of the PAC’s state filing shows its alignment with the mayor’s preferred candidates: The committee gave Tillard’s campaign $7,500 in May, and Parker’s $2,500 in June. That same month, the PAC — called Striving for a Better New York — gave Parker $4,700 in a race for an unpaid district leader position.
The PAC also donated money to district leader candidates supported by both Adams and the Brooklyn Democratic machine, including City Hall aide Pinny Ringel, who was reportedly pushed to run to unseat an Adams rival, David Schwartz. It also gave to the district leader campaign of Edu Hermelyn, who worked on Adams’ mayoral race and was then hired into his administration. Hermelyn subsequently left his post after learning he could not hold the job and be a district leader.
The PAC regularly pays fundraiser Brianna Suggs, who worked on Adams’ 2021 campaign.
In a text message, Cockfield said he opts to give money to “common sense, moderate Democrats,” but he and the PAC “do not coordinate” with Adams or the Brooklyn Democratic Party.
Gabe Tobias, a progressive consultant who worked unsuccessfully to defeat Adams last year, criticized his scorecard after Tuesday’s results.
“It’s embarrassing for the mayor of New York City to endorse in his own home district and lose by 55 points,” Tobias said, referring to the Brisport margin of victory. “Adams’ endorsement isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.”