JAM News
Monday, November 2, 2020

The major 2021 mayoral contenders

CITY & STATE NEW YORK - by Jeff Coltin

While the nation – and the world – have been focused on the 2020 presidential race, a handful of New Yorkers have been prepping for the next big race: the June 2021 Democratic primary for mayor of New York City. Other candidates have already weighed running, then decided against it. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. could’ve been a contender – but announced he wouldn’t be running in January. And many saw New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson as the next mayor – until he, too, said he wouldn’t be running.

Here are some fast facts about the likely 2021 New York City contenders, in alphabetical order.

Eric Adams
Born: 1960

Home: Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn

Current job: Brooklyn borough president

Previous jobs: State senator, NYPD officer

Fundraising: $2.59 million as of July 2020

Campaign launched? Not yet, but he’s definitely running.

Why he’ll win: Adams has the political connections and the money, and is appealing to outer-borough voters with his law enforcement credentials and pragmatic politics.

Why he won’t: Adams is hard to define politically, and has courted controversy with comments on topics like gentrification and gun rights. 

Shaun Donovan
Born: 1966

Home: Boerum Hill, Brooklyn

Latest job: Senior strategist to the president of Harvard University

Previous jobs: Budget director for President Barack Obama, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, New York City Housing Preservation and Development commissioner under Bloomberg 

Fundraising: $662,000 as of July 2020

Campaign launched? Yes, in January 2020. 

Why he’ll win: Obama trusted him for eight years, and he’s got real budgetary and housing credentials. 

Why he won’t: Donovan has been a behind-the-scenes guy, and is about as exciting as dry toast.

Kathryn Garcia
Born: 1970

Home: Park Slope, Brooklyn

Latest job: New York City Sanitation Commissioner under de Blasio

Previous jobs: COVID-19 food czar, interim chair of NYCHA, COO of the Department of Environmental Protection

Fundraising: Hasn’t filed a disclosure yet

Campaign launched? Not yet, but she started raising money in September 2020.

Why she’ll win: If she can win the hearts of the city’s garbage haulers, she can win over anyone.

Why she won’t: It’s her first foray into politics, and the association with de Blasio might not help as she introduces herself to voters.

Zach Iscol
Born: 1978

Home: NoHo, Manhattan

Current job: Founder and CEO of Task & Purpose, a digital media company

Previous jobs: Deputy director of the Javits medical center, co-founder and chair of the Headstrong Project, officer in the U.S. Marine Corps

Fundraising: Hasn’t filed a disclosure yet, but says he had $250,000 in pledged contributions when he launched his campaign.

Campaign launched? Yes, in October 2020.

Why he’ll win: Wealthy military vet married to a glamorous wife? Sounds Kennedyesque.

Why he won’t: He’s unknown in the political world, and seems to lack a clear rationale for running.

Ray McGuire
Born: 1957

Home: Upper West Side, Manhattan

Latest job: Vice chair, Citigroup

Previous jobs: Global co-head of mergers and acquisitions at Morgan Stanley, mergers and acquisitions at Merrill Lynch

Fundraising: Hasn’t filed a disclosure yet, but claims to have raised $1.1 million within ten days of announcing

Campaign launched? Not yet, but started raising money as of October 2020.

Why he’ll win: He’s the proudly capitalist money manager that some New Yorkers have been eager to get back to since former Mayor Michael Bloomberg left office.

Why he won’t: Wall Street is the enemy to many Democratic primary voters. Just look at Bloomberg’s presidential run.

Carlos Menchaca
Born: 1980

Home: Red Hook, Brooklyn

Current job: New York City Council member

Previous jobs: LGBT and HIV community liaison to former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, budget coordinator to former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz

Fundraising: Hasn’t filed a disclosure yet

Campaign launched? Yes, in October 2020.

Why he’ll win: He’s a person of color running hard to the left on a record of progressive purity – a formula that’s been working lately.

Why he won’t: He has made more enemies than friends in seven years in the council, and Stringer has all the momentum.

Dianne Morales
Born: 1967

Home: Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn

Latest job: Executive Director and CEO of Phipps Neighborhoods, a social services nonprofit

Previous jobs: Executive director of The Door, chief of operations and implementation at the New York City Department of Education

Fundraising: $157,000 as of July 2020

Campaign launched? Officially planned for November 2020, but she’s been openly running since July 2019.

Why she’ll win: Her unapologetically progressive platform and Afro-Latina identity speak to the political moment

Why she won’t: She’s new to politics and will have a hard time raising the money necessary to get her name out.

Scott Stringer
Born: 1960

Home: Financial District, Manhattan

Current job: New York City comptroller

Previous jobs: Manhattan borough president, assembly member

Fundraising: $2.79 million as of July 2020

Campaign launched? Yes, in September 2020.

Why he’ll win: Stringer is a political animal, with citywide executive experience, Upper West Side establishment credentials, a progressive track record and endorsements from exciting insurgents.

Why he won’t: Stringer doesn’t fit the mold of the progressive political movement he’s appealing to, and lacks the charisma of his main competitors.

Loree Sutton
Born: 1959

Home: Financial District, Manhattan

Latest job: New York City Veterans’ Services commissioner under de Blasio

Previous jobs: Brigadier general in the U.S. Army, psychiatrist

Fundraising: $157,000 as of July 2020

Campaign launched? Yes, in November 2019.

Why she’ll win: “It takes a general” is a great campaign slogan – and who isn’t impressed by an M.D. psychiatrist?

Why she won’t: She’s running as a centrist, which probably won’t excite the Democratic electorate.

Maya Wiley
Born: 1964

Home: Ditmas Park, Brooklyn

Latest job: Senior vice president of social justice and professor of urban policy at The New School

Previous jobs: MSNBC legal analyst, Civilian Complaint Review Board chair, counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio

Fundraising: Hasn’t filed a disclosure yet

Campaign launched? Yes, in October 2020.

Why she’ll win: She’s a charismatic #resistance star with police reform credentials and historic potential.

Why she won’t: The first-time candidate worked closely with de Blasio in a year when people are expected to be looking for an antidote. 

Other New Yorkers who have filed with the Campaign Finance Board to run for mayor but are unlikely to impact the race include: Quanda Francis, Miguel Hernandez, Stephen Seely, Kevin Coenen, Edward Cullen, Thomas Downs, Vitaly Filipchenko, Cleopatra Fitzgerald, Aaron Foldenauer, Garry Guerrier, Max Kaplan, Abbey Laurel-Smith, William Pepitone, Julia Reaves and Joycelyn Taylor.

View All Articles