Former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang are New York’s new political frenemies.
What You Need To Know
- It’s a strategy never seen before, but in the new world of Ranked-Choice Voting embracing your opponent is a risk that may pay off
- Yang has repeatedly said he would hire Garcia as his deputy if elected mayor, but Garcia has recoiled at that suggestion
- Asked over and over, Garcia would not say if she’s ranking Yang as her second choice on her ballot
Garcia and Yang joined forces on the campaign trail on the last weekend of early voting and ahead of Tuesday’s Democratic Primary election. It’s a strategy never seen before, but in the new world of Ranked-Choice Voting, embracing your opponent is a risk that may pay off.
The two candidates met along Main Street in Flushing for a rally against anti-Asian violence. Yang stressed the historical potential of his campaign if elected, he would be the city’s first Asian-American mayor. Yang also praised Garcia’s record.
“Kathryn Garcia is a true public servant," Yang said to a packed crowd of supporters. "Anyone listening to my voice right now, if you support me you should rank Kathryn number two on your ballot."
Garcia’s message was a little different.
“Politics can be a dirty business, but ranked choice voting means it doesn’t have to," Garcia said. "We can say that we like different people, so I encourage everyone to go out and make sure that they’re using their ranked choice."
Yang has repeatedly said he would hire Garcia as his deputy if elected mayor, but Garcia has recoiled at that suggestion. Despite promising to stay positive, Yang has been critical of Garcia - faulting her for the city’s garbage problems. It all seemed forgotten Saturday.
“You know we’re running for mayor sometimes you’re in a position where you say things were everyone knows it’s political in nature. I am a huge fan and admirer of Kathryn Garcia,” Yang said.
Back into Manhattan, the two campaigned together at Stuyvesant Town - that’s where things got interesting.
Asked over and over, Garcia would not say if she’s ranking Yang as her second choice on her ballot.
“Let me be very clear, I am not are not co-endorsing, we are campaigning together, we are promoting ranked choice voting,” Garcia said.
The contrast was stark. Garcia has yet to go negative, but on Saturday, the rookie politician had a clear message.
“I wouldn’t be in this race if I had a solid number two,” Garcia said. “I would encourage my voters to follow their preferences, to have who they want on their ballot."
Garcia has been climbing in the polls while Yang has tumbled down to fourth place, far from where he started when he launched his campaign.
The result of this political math may not be known until after the election, but for now it’s Yang who needs the help.
Yang was asked several times if he plans to campaign alongside other candidates, then declined to answer the question, only telling his supporters to stay tuned.