Eric Adams, a former New York City police captain whose attention-grabbing persona and keen focus on racial justice fueled a decades-long career in public life, was elected on Tuesday as the 110th mayor of New York, and the second Black mayor in the city’s history.
The Associated Press declared victory for Mr. Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, 10 minutes after the polls closed at 9 p.m.
At his campaign celebration, held at the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge, just around the corner from his office at Brooklyn Borough Hall, Mr. Adams urged unity.
“Today we take off the intramural jersey and we put on one jersey, Team New York,” he told supporters.
Mr. Adams, who will take office as mayor on Jan. 1, faces a staggering set of challenges as the nation’s largest city grapples with the enduring consequences of the pandemic, including a precarious and unequal economic recovery and continuing concerns about crime and the quality of city life.
His victory signaled the start of a more center-left Democratic leadership that he has promised will reflect the needs of the working- and middle-class voters of color who delivered him the party’s nomination and were vital to his general election coalition.
He will begin the job with significant political leverage: Mr. Adams was embraced by both Mayor Bill de Blasio, who sought to chart a more left-wing course for New York, and by centrist leaders like Michael R. Bloomberg, Mr. de Blasio’s predecessor. Mr. Adams was the favored candidate of labor unions and wealthy donors. And he and Gov. Kathy Hochul have made clear that they intend to have a more productive relationship than Mr. de Blasio had with Andrew M. Cuomo when he was governor.
He has made clear that large companies have a role to play in shepherding the city’s recovery, and there are signs that he may have a far warmer relationship with business leaders than Mr. de Blasio, who won on a populist platform.
But on the campaign trail, there was no issue Mr. Adams discussed more than public safety.
Mr. Adams, who speaks about growing up poor in Queens, has said he was once a victim of police brutality and spent his early years in public life as a transit police officer and later a captain who pushed for changes from within the system.
During the primary, amid a spike in gun violence and jarring attacks on the subway, Mr. Adams emerged as one of his party’s most unflinching advocates for the police maintaining a robust role in preserving public safety. He often clashed with those who sought to scale back law enforcement’s power in favor of promoting greater investments in mental health and other social services.
Mr. Adams, who has said he has no tolerance for abusive officers, supports the restoration of a reformed plainclothes anti-crime unit. He opposes the abuse of stop-and-frisk policing tactics but sees a role for the practice in some circumstances. And he has called for a more visible police presence on the subways.
Alvin Bragg was elected Manhattan district attorney on Tuesday and will become the first Black person to lead the influential office, which handles tens of thousands of cases a year and is conducting a high-profile investigation into former President Donald J. Trump and his family business.
The Associated Press called the race for Mr. Bragg on Tuesday night.
Mr. Bragg, 48, a former federal prosecutor who campaigned on a pledge to balance public safety with fairness for all defendants, will succeed Cyrus R. Vance Jr., a Democrat who did not seek re-election. Mr. Bragg had been heavily favored to prevail over his Republican opponent, Thomas Kenniff, given that Democrats vastly outnumber Republicans in the borough.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office continues to disproportionately prosecute Black defendants, and Mr. Bragg throughout his campaign has drawn on his personal experiences growing up in New York to illustrate the types of changes he wishes to make. Mr. Bragg has said he would show leniency to defendants who commit low-level crimes and has emphasized the importance of accountability for the police and the office’s prosecutors.
In an interview on Tuesday, Mr. Bragg pointed toward experiences that he said would inform his work and set him apart from his predecessors.
“Having been stopped by the police,” he said. “Having a homicide victim on my doorstep. Having had a loved one return from incarceration and live with me.”
His victory comes as Democrats are seeking to balance sweeping changes to the criminal justice system with some voters’ concerns about rising gun crime. In 2020, millions of people around the country took to the streets to protest the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and call for change. But after rises in homicides and shootings in New York and other cities, some voters have moderated their stances.
The most high-profile case confronting Mr. Bragg is the investigation into Mr. Trump and his family business. Over the summer, the business and one of its top executives were charged with running a yearslong tax scheme that helped executives evade taxes while compensating them with off-the-books benefits.
Mr. Vance’s investigation into Mr. Trump and his business is ongoing; Mr. Bragg has faced questions about it throughout his campaign and will continue to do so. Though he cited his experience of having sued the former president over 100 times while at the state attorney general’s office, Mr. Bragg has said he will follow the facts when it comes to the current inquiry.
Mr. Bragg voted on Tuesday morning in Harlem, the neighborhood where he has lived most of his life and that has served as the constant backdrop of his campaign over the last two years.
He said that voting for himself, the first time he has done so, had been humbling.
“Just to be engaged in our democracy from this new perspective has been so important to me, so meaningful on a personal level,” he said outside of the Wyatt T. Walker senior housing building on Frederick Douglass Boulevard.
Mr. Bragg then drove to a polling place on 134th Street, where he was greeted by Jumaane D. Williams, the city public advocate; and Cordell Cleare, a Democratic State Senate candidate.
Upon seeing Mr. Bragg, Mr. Williams offered an enthusiastic greeting: “The D.A. is here!”
Eric Adams leaned heavily on his biography on the long road to becoming New York’s 110th mayor — and just the second Black person to hold the office.
When he talked about public schools on the campaign trail, Mr. Adams reminded voters that his dyslexia went undiscovered for most of his youth.
When he spoke about homelessness, Mr. Adams recounted carrying a trash bag of clothes to school because he was worried that his family would be evicted before he returned home.
On crime and safety, Mr. Adams promised that he could both promote public safety and protect Black and Latino residents from civil rights abuses. He said that his experience of being beaten by the police as a teenager inspired him to join the department and speak out against discrimination from within its ranks, eventually leading a group called 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care.
After retiring from the Police Department, Mr. Adams, 61, served four terms as a state senator before being elected, then re-elected, Brooklyn borough president.
But while he has emphasized his working-class bona fides and vowed to fight for New Yorkers struggling to make ends meet in an expensive city that had left them behind, Mr. Adams has had no qualms about courting New Yorkers at the top of the heap.
After winning a bruising Democratic mayoral primary in June — where he ran as a moderate in a field crowded with progressives — Mr. Adams held a raft of fund-raisers with New York’s rich and powerful. He consulted with the billionaire former mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and dined with the billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch while promising that city government would be more friendly to business than it has been under Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Mr. Adams’s charm and ease in depicting himself as many things to many people and his ability to convincingly shape-shift at will may be his greatest skill, but it leaves some people uneasy.
Even those who have known him for decades aren’t sure which version will show up to City Hall in January. Sometimes, even Mr. Adams does not seem sure.
“I’m so many formers,” he said over the summer during a visit to the White House, where he declared himself the new face of the Democratic Party, “I’m trying to figure out the current.”
After a lengthy, bitter primary constrained by the coronavirus and a contentious general-election campaign, New Yorkers went to the polls on Tuesday to pick a mayor to lead the nation’s largest city out of the throes of the pandemic and into a new political era.
After eight years under Mayor Bill de Blasio, voters were choosing between two candidates with sharply distinct visions: Eric Adams, the Democratic nominee and a former police officer who is currently Brooklyn’s borough president; and Curtis Sliwa, the Republican founder of the Guardian Angels, who has never held public office.
They chose Mr. Adams, who ran a campaign tightly focused on public safety and was heavily favored in a city where Democrats vastly outnumber Republicans.
Mr. Adams has promised to lead New York in a more equitable direction, pointing to his working-class roots to suggest he would be an advocate for issues of concern to less affluent New Yorkers.
Still, in contrast to the message of economic populism that Mr. de Blasio rode to victory in 2013 and 2017 (he was prevented by term limits from running again), Mr. Adams made explicit overtures to big-business leaders, arguing that they too have a significant role to play in the city’s recovery.
After voting in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, on Tuesday, Mr. Adams wiped away tears.
“Because I’m standing here, everyday New Yorkers are going to realize they deserve the right to stand in this city also,” he said. “This is for the little guy.”
Mr. Sliwa was keenly focused on public safety and addressing homelessness, but on other matters and certainly in personality, he and Mr. Adams had significant differences.
Mr. Sliwa’s campaign was marked by antics and eccentricities that often drew more attention than his policy positions. His trip to the polls on Tuesday grew into a fracas when he tried to bring one of his many cats with him to vote, then fought with election officials who asked him to remove his red campaign jacket when they deemed it was a violation of electioneering rules.
During the campaign, Mr. Sliwa sought to draw a contrast with Mr. Adams, whom he called elitist.
He highlighted still-simmering questions around Mr. Adams’s residency and his financial dealings. Mr. Sliwa also tried to capitalize on anger in some corners of the city around vaccine mandates. In the end, it was not nearly enough.
In his concession remarks at the Empire Steak House in Midtown Manhattan, Mr. Sliwa told supporters he was “pledging my support to the new mayor Eric Adams.”
He added: “We’re all going to have to coalesce together in harmony and solidarity if we’re going to save this city that we love.”
Julianne McShane and James Thomas contributed reporting.
As New Yorkers cast their ballots on Tuesday, a broad range of issues, from public safety to education, were top of mind. But some said what was most significant about the current moment was its potential to usher in history.
New York has had 109 mayors; Eric Adams, who won Tuesday’s election, will be only the second Black man to take the city’s helm.
To Djene Keita, 30, who is Black, voting for Mr. Adams felt like casting a vote for her young son’s future. “Just having someone for him to look up to and be inspired by would be great,” said Ms. Keita, who is from Harlem.
Mark Godfrey, 65, said Mr. Adams’s ascendance felt similarly personal, a sign of “subtle changes that are occurring in the U.S.” in racial equity and representation.
Mr. Godfrey, a resident of Ozone Park in Queens who said he was an independent, said Mr. Adams’s identity as a Black man and his experiences as a police officer and a victim of police brutality meant that he “understands what being profiled is like.”
Mr. Godfrey said he hoped those experiences would give Mr. Adams a unique and valuable perspective.
David N. Dinkins, the city’s first Black mayor, was elected to a single term in 1989 and died in 2020. He has been remembered as a mentor who inspired other Black leaders to run for office.
Some voters like Esmirna Flores, 38, recalled watching Mr. Dinkins as mayor as they cast their ballots on Tuesday. The prospect of electing a second Black mayor was “absolutely awesome,” said Ms. Flores, who is Latina and lives in the Kingsbridge area of the Bronx.
“It’s about time that we have more Black representatives, more brown people representing,” she said.
Still, others like Mable Ivory, 45, a Black voter in Harlem, said they saw Mr. Adams’s identity as something positive, but noted that it did not play a significant role in shaping their vote or compelling them to head to the polls.
There were also mixed feelings among some voters, who appreciated the chance to make history, but disagreed with aspects of Mr. Adams’s platform.
Gabriel Knott, 27, called the milestone an “important step forward.” But he said he remained unsure whether Mr. Adams was the best option for the job among the many Democrats he beat in June’s primary.
“It’s really key to kind of consider what is he going to do for those communities in New York City,” said Mr. Knott, who is from the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn. “But I think that it’s really still significant.”
The tension between left-wing Democrats in New York and those who consider themselves more moderate, a rift that has characterized the state’s politics for years and was a major battle in the mayoral primary in June, remained evident on Tuesday.
In left-leaning New York City, Eric Adams, the city’s new mayor-elect, has declared himself the new face of the Democratic Party, suggesting his platform and profile would be a model for other politicians across the country.
But his positions received mixed reviews from voters in the city on Election Day, with some embracing him enthusiastically and other Democrats admitting they were hesitant about casting their votes.
Allister Klingensmith, 40, expressed some ambivalence about voting for Mr. Adams because he did not see most of his political views reflected in the candidate’s platform.
“I’d like to see more done with the environment, especially environmental causes,” Mr. Klingensmith, a Democrat, said. “I just don’t think he’s doing enough there.”
On the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Edward Horton, 66, said he supported Mr. Adams in the primary election, largely because he thought the candidate would be able to increase affordable housing and tackle the city’s homeless crisis.
Steve Rush, 65, a retired city worker who identified himself as a moderate Democrat, said he believed that Mr. Adams could handle issues of police reform with sensitivity — he was a police officer for more than two decades before entering politics — and without compromising safety.
“I think he has a healthy caution about N.Y.P.D,” Mr. Rush said of Mr. Adams. “We have to do public safety in a way that doesn’t hurt minority communities, as it has.”
But that same relationship with the Police Department made Shahreen Akhter, a 30-year-old registered Democrat in Ozone Park, Queens, skeptical that Mr. Adams would move quickly on police reform.
She also said she worried over how he might achieve his goal of expanding the city public school system’s gifted and talented program, which Ms. Akhter said currently widened inequity among students.
Ms. Akhter’s concerns led her to cast her vote for the Socialist candidate, Cathy Rojas, instead, she said.
Audrey Dursht, a Morningside Heights resident and a former teacher, said that education was her top priority, and that her vote for Mr. Adams was a reluctant one.
Ms. Dursht, 65, added that she felt this year’s slate of mayoral candidates was “not a great selection,” but said she did not want to see Curtis Sliwa in office.
In New York City, a global beacon that draws a diverse population from all over the world, the City Council has never had a person of South Asian descent — or a Muslim woman — among its membership.
That changed on Tuesday, when Shahana Hanif, a former City Council employee, won her election in a Brooklyn district that covers Park Slope, Kensington and parts of central Brooklyn.
Ms. Hanif, who is Bangladeshi American, was the first Muslim woman elected to the Council in its history, despite the fact that the city is home to an estimated 769,000 Muslims.
She was one of several South Asian candidates who ran for Council seats; Shekar Krishnan and Felicia Singh both ran in Queens races that have yet to be called.
The City Council is also expected to have its first out gay Black women serve as members next year: Kristin Richardson Jordan in a Harlem district and Crystal Hudson in a Brooklyn district that encompasses parts of Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, and Bedford-Stuyvesant.
A number of other L.G.B.T.Q. candidates are likely to join them, including Tiffany Cabán and Lynn Schulman in Queens; Chi Ossé in Brooklyn; and Erik Bottcher in Manhattan.
They are part of a larger shift in New York’s City Council, which is poised to have a diversity that mirrors the city it represents. More than two dozen women are positioned to take a majority of the Council’s seats, for the first time ever.
There are five proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot, asking voters to decide on measures involving legislative redistricting, changes to voting laws, environmental policy and New York City’s civil courts. Those that are approved would take effect on Jan. 1, 2022.
Here’s a quick rundown of the five ballot measures.
1. Changes to the state’s redistricting process
This measure involves the drawing of legislative maps, which occurs every 10 years. It also proposes other changes such as capping the number of state senators at 63 and counting incarcerated people at their last place of residence rather than where they are detained.
Under the measure, only a simple majority vote among state lawmakers — rather than the current two-thirds — would be required to pass redistricting plans. Opponents have argued this change could diminish a minority party’s voting power, though others have said it’s too early to predict that.
2. An environmental rights amendment
This measure would give New Yorkers a constitutional right to clean air, water and a “healthful environment.” The proposal language is vague on what a “healthful environment” is or how the standard would be legally enforced.
Critics have cited the measure’s broad language as a concern, arguing that the lack of specificity could lead to unnecessary lawsuits. But environmental advocates have said the proposal’s language only poses a risk to those who may be polluting the environment.
3. A push to allow same-day voter registration
The measure, one of two ballot proposals related to voting rights, would eliminate a rule that requires voters to register at least 10 days before an election.
If passed, the measure would make it possible for state lawmakers to adopt same-day voter registration, something 20 states already have done. This measure would be particularly beneficial to voters who do not start paying attention to local politics until late in the election cycle, supporters have said.
4. Making it easier to cast absentee ballots
The second proposed change to the voting process would erase the requirement that those who request absentee ballots explain why they need them.
Under current law, mail-in ballots are only allowed for voters who expect to be away on Election Day, or who have an illness or disability that would prevent them from voting in person.
5. Changes to New York City’s civil courts
This measure would double the monetary limit for claims filed in New York City’s civil courts from $25,000 to $50,000. This would enable the courts to consider more small claims, reducing the caseload for the state’s Supreme Court.
Although the change would be likely to increase the efficiency with which lawsuits are resolved, it might also increase the workload for the city’s understaffed civil courts.
City Council District 32, which has been held by Eric A. Ulrich since 2009, is a political rarity: It is the only Republican-held Council seat in Queens. In fact, Mr. Ulrich is the only Republican elected to public office in the borough.
The race to succeed Mr. Ulrich, accordingly, attracted attention from across the political spectrum. The contest pits Felicia Singh, a Democrat and teacher, against Joann Ariola, a longtime civic leader and the chairwoman of the Queens Republican Party.
It is something of a test of the enduring power of the Republican Party in Queens. While the county has long leaned Democratic, it is still home to roughly 140,000 registered Republicans, the most of any borough.
District 32 sits in southeast Queens, spanning parts of many different neighborhoods around Jamaica Bay, from the western Rockaways up through Howard Beach, and into Ozone Park, Woodhaven and Richmond Hill. While the southern portion includes white conservative strongholds like Breezy Point, the northern end skews Democratic and includes large communities of South Asian and Caribbean immigrants.
In Ozone Park, which lies in the northern part of the district, Rezbana Alam, 36, said on Tuesday she had voted for Ms. Singh. Ms. Alam, a Democrat and full-time parent, said that she believed Ms. Singh could make the neighborhood safer. Her public safety proposals include reallocating funding from the police budget to violence-intervention and mental health programs.
Ms. Singh, who grew up in Ozone Park and has Indo-Caribbean roots, is among several candidates who could become the first people of South Asian descent elected to the council. She would also be the first nonwhite representative of District 32.
Ms. Alam said that Ms. Singh had visited her house while campaigning and seemed “very open-minded.”
But Ms. Ariola’s tough-on-crime platform has resonated with voters who are frustrated with Mayor Bill de Blasio and the national Democratic Party. Ms. Ariola has called the city “a derailed train” and strongly criticized bail-reform measures and cuts in police funding.
Eddie Rivera, 66, a retiree who also lives in Ozone Park and is not registered with either party, echoed those concerns, saying Democrats “have lost their way.” He called Ms. Ariola’s platform “common sense.”
Zamil Ahmed, a 41-year-old server who lives in the neighborhood, is a registered Democrat, but he blamed the party for a rise in gun violence and said that quality of life had declined.
“It’s like the whole city is almost destroyed,” he said. Ms. Ariola picked up his vote.
Jumaane D. Williams is no stranger to running for public advocate. His likely victory for a full four-year term on Tuesday comes after three elections for the seat in under three years following a 2019 special election victory.
Re-election as public advocate would give him a stable base to pursue another office that he’s interested in: governor. Mr. Williams has formed an exploratory committee and has said he will make a decision in the next few weeks about whether he will run for that job.
The race for governor has grown competitive recently. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who took office when former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo resigned, is running, and Letitia James, the New York State attorney general, announced her candidacy last week. Other possible candidates include the New York City mayor, Bill de Blasio, and Representative Thomas Suozzi from Long Island.
Eyeing a run for governor while running for public advocate has left Mr. Williams open to criticism from his fellow candidates that he would not pay attention to the job of public advocate if re-elected. The public advocate serves as an ombudsman and is also next in the line of succession to the mayor.
Dr. Devi Nampiaparampil, the Republican nominee, said New Yorkers deserved an advocate who was focused on dealing with issues specific to the city; she has claimed that Mr. Williams would be distracted if he runs for governor.
Mr. Williams said that if he ran for governor, he would do so to address two of the most important issues facing the state — criminal justice reform and affordable housing — from his perspective as a progressive.
After a surprise run for lieutenant governor in 2018 brought him closer to victory than many expected, Mr. Williams said that he was getting a warm reception during state listening tours.
Brad Lander, a three-term New York City councilman, is expected to win Tuesday’s race for comptroller against Daby Carreras, a Republican aligned with the Trump wing of the party.
Mr. Lander, 52, from Park Slope, Brooklyn, is running as a left-leaning Democrat, with endorsements from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (who gets top billing on his campaign website), Senator Elizabeth Warren and the New York City public advocate, Jumaane Williams.
Mr. Carreras, who Bloomberg reported is a financial adviser at Spartan Capital Securities LLC, is running as a far-right Republican. He is unlikely to win in a city where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by nearly seven to one.
The comptroller oversees the city’s public pension funds, whose assets total nearly $300 billion, and audits city agencies.
The post also frequently attracts politicians with higher aspirations. The departing New York City comptroller, Scott M. Stringer, ran for mayor, as did his two predecessors, John C. Liu and William C. Thompson Jr.
Mr. Lander supports efforts to make the city’s pension fund investments more environmentally friendly and has promised to expand upon them. As a candidate, he has pledged to help overhaul the way the city invests in infrastructure to make it more efficient and to conduct “sharp, strategic” audits of city agencies.
Mr. Carreras has suggested he would focus entirely on investment returns if elected.
“The entire reason why I’m here is because I bring money here,” he said during a debate on NY1. “I’m a money wave. Ching, ching, ching goes the money tree. Every time it chings, money comes to me.”
He also promises to be a combatant in the culture wars. Mr. Carreras participated in the debate remotely because he declined to provide proof of vaccination — something he said was a violation of privacy.
During the debate, the moderator, Errol Louis, cut Mr. Carreras off, saying that NY1 did not traffic in “misinformation” about the vaccine.
Mr. Carreras has also been spotted on the campaign trail wearing a yellow Jewish star, of the sort the Nazis made Jews wear during the Holocaust, in protest against vaccine mandates.