With Mayor Eric Adams facing a growing number of controversies, investigations and criticisms, a growing number of potential challengers see an opportunity to run for mayor in 2025.
Adams has already raised over $2 million in campaign funds and secured some strong support from union leaders, making him difficult to beat. But the sprawling federal investigation into his 2021 mayoral campaign and his relation with the Turkish government has galvanized the mayor’s critics, who have come to share the same sentiment: the mayor must be challenged, and the only question left is who will do so.
Some would-be candidates are preparing to challenge the mayor directly – often with the support of progressives who loathe Adams – while others are making it known that they are ready to jump into the race if Adams declines to run for reelection.
Here are some of the strong potential challengers considering whether to throw their hats in the ring.
New York City Council Deputy Speaker Diana Ayala told Politico she is in “very preliminary conversations” regarding a run for mayor in 2025. At the Somos conference, Ayala told Politico that while she is considering a run, she wants voters to have options. “I don’t think I should be the only one running. This is an invitation to others,” she said. “That’s what democracy is about. If not now, when?” She told The City last month that “we have never had a woman or a Latino mayor and we obviously have to explore our options, considering the existing political structure.”
Ayala confirmed to City & State that she is currently thinking about running but has not made a final decision yet.
State Sen. Zellnor Myrie is a rising star among progressives who is considering a run against Adams in 2025. “I do want to be part of the conversation, and I do want to be part of the solutions to some of our most pressing problems,” Myrie told The City’s FAQ podcast in September. In November, Myrie told The City that he’s been asked to run, adding that the people he speaks to “are focused on affording their rent, paying for childcare and keeping their families safe – so that’s what I’m focused on, too.” Citing a source close to the state senator, Bloomberg reported that Myrie has secured $1 million worth of commitments in case he decides to run.
Myrie did not respond to requests for comment.
State Sen. Jessica Ramos is one of the progressive forerunners to potentially challenge Adams in the upcoming election. Ramos has been an especially outspoken critic of Adams, especially regarding his handling of the migrant crisis. At an informal dinner over the summer, representatives of progressive groups like the Working Families Party discussed her as a potential Adams challenger.
Ramos, who is the chair of the state Senate’s Labor Committee, already announced that she will run for reelection to the state Senate in 2024, but she has not said what she will do in 2025. On the day that the FBI raided the home of Adams’ fundraiser Brianna Suggs, Ramos told NY1 that someone should primary Adams. “Hopefully we’ll see who that will be soon,” she said.
In an interview with City & State, Ramos left open the possibility of challenging Adams. “I think New Yorkers deserve an honest debate about how this city is being mismanaged and how our tax dollars are being misspent,” she said. “Whether that debate comes from me or another qualified, prepared candidate is too soon to say.”
The successor to Adams as Brooklyn borough president, Antonio Reynoso is another progressive often talked about as a potential challenger to Adams. He was present at an informal dinner with members of the Working Families Party and other progressive organizations looking for someone to take on Adams. But every time he has been asked publicly about running for mayor, he has redirected the conversation to his current job as borough president. In August, he told The New York Times then that he’s not planning to challenge Adams, saying “I got elected to be the borough president of Brooklyn, it’s a big borough, and I have a big job.” At Somos, he told Politico that “people are asking a lot of people to run. I’m here to discuss issues affecting Latinos in Brooklyn.”
When asked by City & State whether he will run in 2025, Reynoso once again dodged the question. “Everyday Brooklynites are facing real challenges as our city grapples with substantial budget cuts to essential services,” Reynoso said in a written statement. “Given that reality, I am focused on ensuring that Borough Hall is doing its part to meet the needs of residents and ensure that we come out of this difficult period stronger and more resilient. It is an honor and privilege to serve as the Borough President of Brooklyn, and I’m excited to continue to build a Brooklyn for all.”
Earlier this year, New York City Comptroller Brad Lander launched his reelection campaign, though he’s still being discussed as a potential challenger to Adams. In a hypothetical primary poll released back in May, Adams was predicted to beat Lander by 48 to 17% in a possible match-up. However, a lot has changed in the past seven months.
Lander has not commented on if he is considering challenging Adams, but he has been a loud critic of the mayor and has spoken publicly about the challenges facing the city. This week, Lander traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with White House officials about getting federal support for the migrant crisis.
Lander could be in a good position to potentially win a special election if Adams resigned, as he has millions raised in campaign funds. A source close to Lander told New York Magazine that since the news of the federal investigation broke, “Brad’s been approached every day by voters on the street and civic leaders asking him to run for mayor.”
The former comptroller is reportedly considering running for mayor in 2025. Stringer served as comptroller from 2013 to 2020 – the kind of experience that could be useful as the city confronts recent fiscal challenges and budget cuts. He previously ran for mayor in 2021, but his campaign was derailed by a sexual harassment allegation (which he has strenuously denied).
Sources told the Daily News that Stringer has been speaking with Democratic strategists and potential donors to determine the feasibility of challenging Adams in the 2025 primary. Stringer told the Daily News that he has no plans to run “at this time” but did not categorically rule out a 2025 campaign.
Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo had a chaotic road to resignation, marred with accusations of sexual harassment and scandal related to alleged underreporting of COVID deaths in nursing homes. (The governor has strongly denied all allegations.) But there are reports that Cuomo may be looking to return to public office. Could a mayoral bid be his ticket back?
During an interview with “Good Day New York,” the former governor declined to speculate on the possibility of running for mayor if Adams were removed from office or resigned. Cuomo said that he “does not deal with hypotheticals” and that it would be “hurtful to suggest that the mayor is in that situation.”
“If the Jets had an opening on the offensive line, might I be interested?” Cuomo said on the broadcast. “I have not heard anything that would suggest that Mayor Adams has done anything serious.”
On Friday, Rich Azzopardi, longtime spokesman to the former governor, told City & State that “the future is the future and he gets these questions often [regarding running for office], which I think are fueled by the fact that many people are facing a crisis in confidence in government at many levels and now view the circumstances in which he left office as the political railroading that it was.”
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