Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams got the endorsement of former Gov. David Paterson Thursday, adding to his growing coalition ahead of next week's primary.
Adams, who continues to hold on to the top spot in the polls, exuded confidence Thursday, speaking to supporters about his background and suggesting others in the race are out of touch with working class New Yorkers.
"Last night on the stage, you had all these intellectuals, elite, you look on the stage and they all talk about how impressive they are," Adams said. "I'm a bald headed blue collar mayor, graduated from CUNY, learning disability, arrested, beat by police, worked in mail room. I am just an ordinary cat."
Fresh off the debate stage, he stepped onto Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard where former State Assemblyman Keith Wright also endorsed his bid for mayor.
"I am so proud to have the endorsement of these two Harlem legends," Adams said.
Paterson, a trailblazing figure in his own right, said he decided to back Adams after waiting to see which candidate would amass the greater coalition. He noted other candidates in the race are friends of his, but ultimately he decided to back Adams, who served in the State Senate at the same time Paterson was governor.
"When you really put his credentials up against the other candidates, he has a rare combination of skills," Paterson said.
Both Paterson and Wright mentioned their other quote — friends in the race — but declined to say who they might be ranking as their second choice.
"I'm not ranking anybody because I don't like ranked-choice voting," Paterson said.
But that comment prompted the criticism of good government organizations, weary that kind of messaging will confuse voters, specifically voters of color, ahead of a primary election where ranked choice will be used for the first time.
“Ranked-choice voting has the potential to give Black voters more power at the ballot box by allowing them to select and rank candidates that address their concerns in order of preference,” said Lurie Daniel Favors, interim executive director for the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College. “Any attempts to frame RCV as too complicated or discourage voters from fully exercising their rights to vote are wrong and harmful to our community."
Adams tried to distance himself from Paterson's statement, saying he believes voters should fill out the entire ballot.
"Voting is an independent, individual responsibility," Adams said. "If they see four candidates that they like, they should rank them. The only requirement that I'm having today is rank me one."
During his day of campaigning, Adams was also critical of rival Kathryn Garcia, who has been on his heels in the latest polls and released a new ad Thursday, highlighting her managerial experience running city agencies.
Garcia, for he part, was in Midtown to unveil a subway safety program alongside her cousin, the actor Clark Gregg who played S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson in the Marvel Avengers series.
Adams did not hesitate to pounce on those optics.
"Public safety is not a bumper sticker, it's not a television program," Adams said. “What are we going to do next? Pick our next commissioner from CSI Miami? This is not the real world that we are living in."