Are you running for mayor? No? You may be unique: More than six months before the primaries in June, the race is already brimming with candidates. Some 40 New Yorkers have filed campaign paperwork — ranging from career politicians to total newcomers — and several more are exploring bids for City Hall. Over the coming months, prepare yourself for a barrage of campaign speeches, debates, mailers, and ads from most, if not all, of these aspirants.
Current job: City comptroller
Résumé high points: He represented the Upper West Side in the State Assembly, then served as Manhattan borough president before he was elected as the city’s fiscal watchdog in 2013.
Pet issues: More than pushing for one big idea, Stringer has advocated for an array of causes like affordable housing, gun control, women’s reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, and campaign-finance reform. Lately it’s felt like his chief purpose in life is to dunk on de Blasio, calling out the mayor with lawsuits, reports, and press releases for botched programs and initiatives.
Positioning: Steady moderate progressivism. He’s attempting to appeal to Democrats seeking an experienced politician while also looking for votes from the party’s progressive wing.
Controversies: Stringer has taken some heat for his record of approving large real-estate projects like Hudson Yards and the expansion of NYU’s campus.
Current job: Brooklyn borough president
Résumé high points: Adams, who entered politics after a 22-year career with the NYPD, co-founded 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care — a group that spoke out against police brutality from inside the force — while he was an officer. (He himself was beaten by cops as a teenager.) In 2006, he was elected to the State Senate, repping neighborhoods such as Crown Heights, Brownsville, and Park Slope for four terms before becoming borough president in 2013.
Pet issues: While serving as the cheerleader-in-chief for Brooklyn, he has cultivated a reputation as a champion for immigrant communities and the needs of small businesses and has been unabashedly pro-development — adapting former Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s “Drill, baby, drill” line into his “Build, baby, build” mantra.
Positioning: As a former cop, he has nuanced views on police reform and can perhaps build a coalition of Black New Yorkers and more conservative white voters. His platform so far has zeroed in on public safety and revitalizing the economy.
What work-life balance? He literally lives at the office. During the early days of the pandemic, Adams set up a makeshift crash pad at Brooklyn Borough Hall, sleeping on a mattress in front of his desk and schlepping in some fitness gear and his NutriBullet blender to make his much discussed morning smoothie.
Latest job: Senior vice-president of social justice and professor of urban policy at the New School
Résumé high points: She’s a former top counsel for Mayor Bill de Blasio and is a onetime civil-rights attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. She’s also the former chair of the Civilian Complaint Review Board, the body that weighs claims of misconduct against NYPD officers. She gained a national reputation as a political and legal analyst for MSNBC.
Pet issues: Combating systemic racism and police brutality are her bread and butter.
Positioning: Wiley announced her exploration of a bid for mayor three months after the killing of George Floyd in May and has positioned herself, a Black woman, as an avatar for addressing the city’s racial and economic inequities.
Allies: Wiley has received what is probably the only coveted Trump bump in the mayoral race: Mary Trump, who wrote a tell-all about her uncle, hosted an online fundraiser for Wiley earlier this month.
Latest job: Senior strategist to the president of Harvard University
Résumé high points: Donovan was secretary of Housing and Urban Development and director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Obama and was the administration’s point man for Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts. In New York, he was commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development under Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration.
Pet issues: Donovan put climate change at the core of his bid for mayor early on, issuing a lengthy policy plan that seeks to double down on the city’s environmental policies. As the city’s biggest contributors of greenhouse-gas emissions, new construction and how buildings are operated would see a spate of environmentally friendly changes under that plan. Design cred: He did a stint as an architect in Italy and has a M.A. in architecture from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard.
Latest job: New York City Sanitation commissioner under Mayor de Blasio
Résumé high points: Garcia has worn many hats in the de Blasio administration aside from her day job of overseeing trash and snow clearing: She was tasked with leading the city’s efforts to abate lead-paint exposure in children, named the interim chair and CEO of the New York City Housing Authority for part of 2019, and also served as the city’s emergency “food czar” this year to combat food insecurity for New Yorkers during the pandemic.
Pet issues: She is credited with big reforms to the city’s sanitation system, such as overseeing an overhaul to the chaotic private-carting industry (though the rollout of that new system has been delayed by COVID-19) as well as the creation of a curbside electronics-waste-disposal program and an expansion of composting.
Positioning: She’s casting herself as the “crisis manager” that New York City needs during its pandemic recovery.
A unique family: Garcia is adopted and comes from a diverse family; her parents also adopted her brother and another daughter, who are both Black, in addition to having a biological daughter.
Latest job: Vice-chair of Citigroup
Résumé high points: McGuire is a total newcomer to city politics. In order to run, he’s leaving his position as one of the highest-ranking and longest-serving Black executives on Wall Street.
Pet issues: He has used his position to advocate on racial-justice issues within the corporate world and has called on executives to do more in combating systemic racism.
Positioning: He’s counting on being seen as a financial expert who can steer the city out of a fiscal crisis and not as a player in a banking system that has heightened economic inequality.
Where he spends his money: McGuire is a major collector of work by Black artists. He and his wife, Crystal McCrary, are among the top 200 art collectors in the world ranked by ARTnews.
Latest job: Executive director and CEO of social-services nonprofit Phipps Neighborhoods
Résumé high points: She was a founding board member of Jumpstart, a 25-year-old national nonprofit that prepares preschoolers for kindergarten.
Pet issues: Morales’s platform is ardently progressive, with ideals like “community control” of the New York City Housing Authority, defunding the NYPD, and enacting a guaranteed minimum income for all city residents.
Positioning: She seeks to become the city’s first Afro-Latina mayor and has cast herself as the community-centric candidate whose advocacy in social justice will elevate the voices of the city’s marginalized.
Bed-Stuy Strong: Morales continues to live in Bedford-Stuyvesant, where she was born and raised, and has been working with the local mutual-aid network during the pandemic.
Current job: Self-appointed crime fighter (a.k.a. founder and CEO of the Guardian Angels) and radio-talk-show host
Résumé high points: The Canarsie native founded his watchdog group in 1979, enlisting unarmed volunteers to patrol the streets and subways wearing their signature red jackets and berets.
Pet issues: It’s all about being tough on crime and getting attention for it.
Positioning: Sliwa has cast himself as the law-and-order candidate, with plans to reinvigorate the NYPD.
Close call: He survived being shot at point-blank range in the back of a taxi — an attack thought to be the work of Gambino-crime-family scion John Gotti.
Current job: Entrepreneur; former presidential candidate in the 2020 Democratic primary
Résumé high points: He’s got name recognition — see #YangGang — and fundraising potential that easily put him in the top tier of candidates, even though he’s never run for city office. He performed well in a recent poll, receiving 20 percent of support as the top choice among 1,000 Democratic likely primary voters (despite the fact that he hadn’t yet filed his paperwork to run).
Pet issue: Universal basic income. Yang advocated for giving every American $1,000 per month — what he named the “freedom dividend” — when he ran for president.
Positioning: He told the Daily News his New Year’s resolution was to “help New York City get back on its feet” (and to cut down on late-night snacks).
Yes, he’s local: Yang was born in Schenectady, went to law school at Columbia, and lives in Hell’s Kitchen.
Current job: Founder and CEO of Evergreen Construction
Résumé high points: Her biggest claim to fame is appearing on Bravo’s Real Housewives in 2019. She also has 20 years of experience in the construction industry, a trade she inherited from her father, who was a mechanical engineer.
Pet issues: Kavovit’s campaign website says her top priorities are to “restore trust and confidence in the NYPD,” boost the city’s economy, invest in schools, and create new affordable housing.
Positioning: The first-time candidate is angling her business experience to position herself as the woman to “rebuild New York” in the wake of the pandemic.
Paperback Writer: Kavovit is the author of the (somewhat autobiographical?) novel Heels of Steel, about a woman named Bridget Steele who has built a construction company from the ground up.
Current jobs: President of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers and spokesperson for the United Bodegas of America
Résumé high points: Most notably, Mateo is a founding member of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers union.
Pet issues: He’s a fixture at press conferences and rallies advocating for the city’s cab drivers and bodega workers. Mateo has also rejected calls to defund the police and has said that, as mayor, he would seek to beef up the NYPD’s ranks with more officers.
Positioning: Mateo, who is originally from the Dominican Republic, refers to himself as an “urban Republican” and is leaning on his advocacy work to cast himself as the working man’s candidate.
Failed business: Mateo is the former co-owner of the scandal-plagued Inwood restaurant La Marina, whose owners filed for bankruptcy in 2019 following a chaotic year that included a liquor-license suspension and drug bust.
Current job: Chief financial officer at Foundation House
Résumé high points: Tirschwell is a loan trader and hedge-fund manager with 30 years of experience on Wall Street at big-name firms like Davidson Kempner Capital Management.
Pet issues: As she put it on her campaign website, “I am running for Mayor to make it safer and easier to live in New York.” Her platform is focused on public safety, boosting the economy, and addressing quality-of-life issues.
Positioning: She is counting on being seen as a financial expert with the know-how to guide New York City out of its pandemic-induced fiscal crisis.
Legal battle: In 2018, Tirschwell sued her former employer — the $200 billion asset-management firm TCW — when she was fired nine days after filing a sexual-harassment complaint against a colleague. The legal battle was considered Wall Street’s first Me Too case.
Former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is reportedly weighing another bid. Now CEO of the homeless-services group Women in Need, she had been a front-runner in the 2013 Democratic primary but was hampered in part by her ties to Mayor Bloomberg and the overturning of term limits. After fading in the final stretch, she came in third. Her recent work in homeless services amid the city’s ballooning population of unhoused New Yorkers — especially now that the city is teetering on the edge of an eviction crisis — could offer renewed relevance.
The billionaire supermarket magnate who previously ran in the 2013 mayoral primary and lost the Republican nomination to Joe Lhota is said to be mulling another run. Catsimatidis, who spent $11 million on his failed mayoral bid, claims he’d go big with an eye-popping $100 million in campaign spending if he does throw his hat into the mayoral ring. His radio show and Instagram-famous Republican-operative daughter won’t hurt, either.
City Council member Carlos Menchaca, who represents Sunset Park and Red Hook, ended his candidacy for mayor in March. Menchaca framed himself as a staunch progressive, who would have have prioritized the voices of underserved communities in the city’s recovery from the pandemic, but he struggled to fund raise and gain traction in a crowded field of candidates. “My work now continues in the city council where I will be fighting for a fair city budget that will rebuild our communities hit hardest by COVID and help to shape a brighter future for the city I love,” he said in a statement.
Loree Sutton, a retired brigadier general who played a key role in growing the Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs into a full-blown city department under de Blasio, withdrew from the race in March after struggling to fundraise. Sutton, who had banked on attracting moderate Democrats, never reached the required $250,000 threshold to qualify for the city’s 6-to-1 campaign finance matching program. “My commitment to service endures, deepened and fortified by the experience of running for office,” she said in a statement. “Going forward, I will continue my advocacy for and support of veterans and their families.”
The Marine Corps veteran turned entrepreneur ended his long-shot bid for mayor in January and has instead set his sights on the City Comptroller’s race. Iscol co-founded and served as the former chairman of the Headstrong Project, a nonprofit providing mental-health services for veterans; he also started Task & Purpose, a military-focused digital media company. Iscol had hoped to leverage his middle-of-the road politics and public service in the military and nonprofit world to attract a following of moderates. But he was unable to gain much traction.
Rose, a blunt-talking Democrat who is relatively conservative for New York City, filed paperwork to run for mayor in December but bowed out of the crowded field on January 3. In a statement, Rose did not spell out exactly why he’s calling it quits — he recently lost his South Brooklyn and Staten Island congressional seat to Republican Nicole Malliotakis — but called on the city’s next mayor to “build a social contract that leaves no one behind.”
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson was the first to declare a bid for mayor, and was a presumed front-runner, but withdrew from the race in September. At the time, Johnson said he had been suffering from depression since May and decided “that this is not the right path for me.” If Johnson had continued his campaign, he would have faced criticism over the passage of the city budget in June, which failed to satisfy both left-leaning Democrats who want hefty cuts to the NYPD and pro-police moderates who believe it will lead to increased crime.
Rubén Díaz Jr.
Bronx borough president Rubén Díaz Jr., a career politician who was first elected to office when he was 22, was once seen as a strong contender to become the city’s first Latino mayor. But last January, the 46-year-old told the New York Times that he decided not to run and that he doesn’t plan on seeking any public office once his term as borough president ends in 2021. Instead, he said he aims to spend more time with his family.
The lawyer is the inspiration for the ABC series For Life, based on his wrongful conviction on drug charges in 1991 and his quest to clear his name.
The nonbinary Brooklyn rapper — and former congressional candidate — Paperboy Prince has officially filed paperwork with the city’s Campaign Finance Board. Their official announcement will come in the form of a “Paperboy for Mayor” album with policy-driven raps, like their recent song about canceling rent.
The child of Korean immigrants, he describes himself as a “reform activist” and “technology innovator.”
Stephen Bishop Seely
Few biographical details are offered on his campaign website, which is oddly blurred for someone who says they seek to create an “inclusive and unifying vision” for the city.
No relation to the fictional character of Twilight fame. He’s going by Eddie Cullen, probably exactly for that reason.
A Republican and lifelong Manhattanite who refers to herself as “Madam Fitzgerald” on her campaign website.
Foldenauer is a lawyer who describes himself as passionate about providing free legal services to the underserved and building a more sustainable city.
The Brooklyn native joined the FDNY as a paramedic in 2007 before launching a career as a nurse.
A self-described “radical Republican” who previously ran for mayor as an independent and a Working Families Party mayoral candidate in 2013 and in 2017.
Pepitone is a born and raised Brooklyn Republican who is retired from the NYPD with a 30-year career in law enforcement.
Taylor grew up in the Louis H. Pink Houses in East New York; her father was an MTA bus driver, and her mother was a homemaker.
Syed boasts that he is the first Muslim candidate for mayor.
Prussman, who is a native of South Brooklyn, is a stand-up comedian, radio host, and animal rights activist. She is running as a Libertarian.
Emilien, a native of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, is a real estate agent and a small business owner.
Other little-known candidates who are running for mayor who have released very little information about themselves include Julia Qing Reaves, Max Kaplan, Kevin Coenen Jr., Michael DeName, Thomas Downs, Vitaly Filipchenko, Christopher Krietchman, David Catapano, Peter Guimaraes, Miguel Hernandez, Grady O’Bryant, and Cardon Pompey.
*All of these candidates have filed paperwork with the city’s Campaign Finance Board, and several have launched campaign websites.