As Johnson drops out of NYC mayoral race, Stringer, Adams now become front-runners to replace de Blasio

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With New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson’s decision not to run for mayor next year, City Comptroller Scott Stringer moves into the front-runner position along with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

“Just as I was open about the fact that I was considering a run for mayor, I now want to be open about the fact that I have made the difficult decision not to run,” Johnson said in a statement Thursday. “This challenging time has led me to rethink how I can best be of service to this city, and I have come to the conclusion that this is not the right path for me.”

“I have made the difficult decision not to run,” Council Speaker Corey Johnson said.

He added there were personal reasons for his decision.

“In the same spirit of openness, I would also add that I have been dealing with some personal challenges over the past few months, namely — depression. I am sharing this because I know from experience the value of speaking honestly about one’s struggles,” Johnson said. “I’ve been open about my sobriety, which along with my partner and mother, has been instrumental to me during this difficult time, and my HIV status. I believe it’s important to be open about this as well. Too often mental health issues are shrouded in secrecy and stigmas, which causes people struggling with these issues to feel alone. I encourage anyone who is experiencing a mental health condition to seek help. I did and I am better for it.”

Because of term limits, Johnson, 38, can’t run for a Council seat again. However, he did not rule out a future run for another office.

“I want to be clear that my decision to end this campaign is not the end of my public life. Far from it. I will continue serving as Speaker of the City Council and working to improve the lives of New Yorkers,” Johnson said. “I love this city with all my heart and I believe by working together, we will come back stronger than ever. Let’s continue looking out for one another and fighting for the greatest city in the world.”

Bill de Blasio is the current mayor of New York. He was first elected and in 2013 and re-elected in 2017. His term of office ends in January 2022 and the current elfction cycle has already begun ahead of the November 2021 election.

While Stringer and Adams have now moved to the top of the pack, the fallout from recent social justice protests and the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic may have changed the political dynamic going into next year.

Stringer, 60, was born in Washington Heights in Manhattan. He graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice with a Bachelor of Arts in Government Studies.

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer at City Hall protest.

He is currently the city’s 44th comptroller and previously served in the N.Y. State Assembly and as Manhattan Borough President.

The comptroller has championed many initiatives to help women- and minority-owned business enterprises and made social justice issues a priority during his tenure.

"[Corey Johnson] was a formidable candidate, and he will make major contributions in other ways for a long time to come," Stringer said ina Tweet Thursday. "His candor about sobriety and mental health is courageous and vital for so many who face similar challenges. He's a true public servant."

Adams, 60, was born in the Brownsville, Brooklyn. He has an Associate in Arts degree in data processing from the New York City College of Technology, a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and a Master of Public Administration degree from Marist College.

He graduated from the NYPD academy in 1984 and after initially serving in the Transit Police transferred to the NYPD. He served as a police officer for 22 years, and retired at the rank of captain.

He was elected to the first of four terms in the N.Y. State Senate in 2006 and in 2013 was elected as the first person of color to serve as Brooklyn Borough President.

“Corey Johnson loves our city. His courage has uplifted the lives of countless people who felt unseen or counted out,” Adams said. “His candid battle with depression will inspire others to not suffer in silence.”

Democrats dominate New York City and State government, and political analysts and pundits now see growing support in the party for progressive policies delivered by men and women of color.

Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough President.

Besides Adams, two other Black candidates are reportedly weighing a run for the seat — Maya Wiley, a civil rights lawyer, and Raymond McGuire, an investment banker at Citigroup. Johnson’s departure may now push them into the mayoral race, which will be the first one decided under the new ranked choice voting method.

New York City is one of the largest issuers of municipal debt in the United States. At the end of the second quarter of fiscal 2020, the city had about $38 billion of general obligation debt outstanding. That's not counting the various city authorities, such as the Transitional Finance Authority, which has $39 billion of debt and the Municipal Water Finance Authority, which has $31 billion outstanding.

Moody’s Investors Service rates the city's GOs Aa1 and S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings rate it AA.

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City of New York, NY New York Corey Johnson Scott Stringer New York City Transitional Finance Authority New York City Municipal Water Finance Authority