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The Democratic primary for mayor of New York City is becoming a three-way race, and it shows as frontrunners Andrew Yang and Eric Adams have launched a new wave of attacks against each other — and against former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia in recent days.
“We need someone very different than Mayor de Blasio and Kathryn — despite her service to the city — is part of an administration that a lot of New Yorkers know has not worked,” Yang told WNYC host Brian Lehrer.
It’s a striking about-face for Yang, who just a month ago told The Post’s editorial board that voters should not worry about his inexperience in government because he would hire Garcia to manage the day-to-day administration of the Big Apple.
Yang’s remarks came just a hours after two new polls provided evidence of Garcia’s surge — including a survey from Emerson College and WPIX-Channel 11 released Tuesday that showed her in a virtual tie for first place with Adams.
Yang wasn’t alone. Roughly two hours after the Emerson/WPIX poll was released, Adams took his first shots at Garcia, too, during a scheduled appearance at a mayoral forum.
“This city does not need a manager, Rev, it needs a visionary,” the Brooklyn borough president told the Rev. Al Sharpton at the National Action Network event.
Just seven minutes later, Adams used the phrase again when asked by Sharpton what separated him from the rest of the field — ensuring no one could mistake the attack for anything else.
“We don’t need a manager, we need a visionary,” he said, in a near word-for-word repeat.
It was a clear dig at Garcia, who’s made her experience as an agency chieftain and City Hall’s ‘Mr. Fix-it’ her prime selling point in June 22 primary for the Democratic nomination to replace Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The primary will be the first citywide election to use the Big Apple’s new ranked-choice voting system.
That means New Yorkers will be able to select their preference of up to five candidates running for mayor and other positions in city government — and the ballots will be tallied by first, second, third, fourth and fifth choice, eliminating the need for runoff elections.
That Emerson/WPIX poll is the most dramatic exhibit in the growing body of evidence that Garcia’s once-longshot bid for Gracie Mansion has gotten the political equivalent of a NASA rocket launch, following endorsements from The New York Times and Daily News.
Last week’s poll last from the conservative-leaning Manhattan Institute found Garcia was gaining steam and had leapt into third place with 11 percent of the primary vote.
And the survey reported that more than a quarter of Democratic voters — 26 percent — were interested in learning more about her candidacy following the Times endorsement, giving her significant upside in a race where many New Yorkers remain undecided.
Meanwhile, Garcia saw her campaign donations triple over the last reporting period, raising more than $600,000 between March and May — third among all candidates in the city’s public financing system.
The attacks, new money and boost in the polls mean that Garcia found herself in a new position Wednesday, firing back at criticism from the two men who have sat at the top of the polls for months.
Garcia rejected Yang’s claim that she was too close to de Blasio, pointing out that she quit his administration after massive budget cuts to the Sanitation Department cut curbside pickup by more than half.
“I guess he’s watching the polls, and I guess he’s watching the fact that The New York Times and the Daily News and the League of Conservation Voters are saying I’m the right person for the job,” she said, responding to Yang, Politico New York reported.
Then, she twisted her own knife a bit.
“I do think we need to have a real strong vision for this city, but we’ve got to be able to get it done. And knowing where the light switches are in City Hall is absolutely critical,” she said.
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