Former New York Gov David Paterson today blasted both the sudden alliance of mayoral candidates Kathryn Garcia and Andrew Yang, and Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) as a process that could lead to increased ethnic and racial divisions.
Patterson’s statements come on the heels of Garcia and Yang campaigning together today, and Yang endorsing Garcia as his second pick under RCV. Paterson, along with a number of Black and Latino officials, are backing mayoral frontrunner, Eric Adams. Additionally, polls show the Black and Latino electorate largely backing Adams.
“The 11th hour decision by Kathryn Garcia and Andrew Yang to combine their campaigns is a very disappointing choice that speaks to the inherent issues with Tuesday’s election being ranked choice voting. Whether this a clever campaign maneuver or being done to intentionally hurt another candidate, it is very harmful to the process,” said Patterson.
“It should be called out for what it is. It is not about a positive vision for our city; it is not driven by a desire to do what is in the best interests of New Yorkers. It is an act of political chicanery and introduces a very disturbing dividing of the city’s electorate and when these actions appear to be designed to hurt one particular candidate it can also divide the city on racial or ethnic lines,” he added.
Paterson said the Garcia Yang combo bespeaks to two campaigns that are willing to win whatever the cost, even at the immeasurable price of dividing New Yorkers.
“The problem with the rank choice voting process itself is that it enables candidates to manipulate the process in a way that defies the will of the voters. There’s too much politics in government as it is, now to introduce more politics into a political process is politics at its worst,” said Paterson.
Joining Paterson in slamming RCV and Garcia, who is white, and Yang, who is Asian, was a number of high-ranking Black and Latino elected officials.
“Latino and Black New Yorkers did not organize and fight for generations so that they could finally put a working class person of color in Gracie Mansion, just to then have their victory taken from them by a backroom deal. Both candidates should be ashamed of themselves,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
New York (Manhattan) Democratic Party Chair Keith Wright said, “The collaboration between Andrew Yang and Kathryn Garcia could be looked at as voter suppression through the rank choice lens.”
City Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo (D-Brooklyn) called the Yang Garcia alliance a cynical game.
“In the eleventh hour of this election, two desperate politicians are ganging up to sideline the voices of Black and Brown voters through a ranked-choice process that many in our communities still don’t understand,” said Cumbo.
City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan) also took a swipe at the progressive ‘people power’ mantra.
“This is what happens when people power shows up! Our race has been about building a real coalition. This is a desperate attempt to silence the voices of our communities and Eric Adams,” Rodriquez said.
Previous to the official’s comments, Adams alleged that Yang and Garcia were playing racial politics aimed at preventing a “person of color” from winning the race.
Yang responded at a news conference, “I would tell Eric Adams that I’ve been Asian my entire life.”
To which Adams clarified that he felt Yang and Garcia were trying to prevent a Black or Latino person from becoming mayor.