June 23 (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, Kathryn Garcia and Maya Wiley in early vote tallies.
“I am not going to be the mayor of New York City based on the numbers coming in tonight,” Yang said.
Under the new ranked-choice system, ballots are counted in a series of rounds. If no candidate earns a No. 1 ranking from at least 50% of voters, 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.
CNN projected that no candidates would meet the 50% threshold to win outright, meaning it could potentially take weeks to tabulate the votes.
“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.”
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.
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, was projected to defeat businessman and activist Fernando Mateo.
The recent Ipsos poll showed that the race could potentially come down to a final-round face-off, with Adams projected to defeat Yang 56% to 44%.
In an attempt to boost their chances, Yang and Garcia campaigned together over the weekend and Yang encouraged supporters to rank Garcia second on their ballots.
The move drew condemnation from Adams, who accused them of announcing their decision to campaign together on Juneteenth as an effort to weaken the Black and Latino vote, while alluding to tactics used to make it more difficult for Black people to vote in the South.
Yang and Garcia condemned Adams’ accusations, with Yang’s campaign calling them “wacky.”
Some primary factors in the race are 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.
The police issue, as with most cities in the country, also weighs heavily. Morales, Wiley, a former civil rights attorney, Stringer and Donovan support cutting the New York City Police Department’s budget, while the three front-runners, Adams, Garcia and Yang, 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, proposes 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.