Two leading contenders vying to become the Big Apple’s next mayor will campaign together Saturday — an unprecedented move that came together due to June 22 being the city’s first ranked-choice primary where voters can list their top five candidates.
The campaigns of the two mayoral hopefuls — entrepreneur Andrew Yang and former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia — sent out nearly identical press releases at 6:29 p.m. Friday announcing the surprise matchup.
“Ahead of NYC’s first ranked-choice election, mayoral candidates Kathryn Garcia and Andrew Yang kick off GOTV weekend together on the trail,” the emails stated about the joint, get out the vote effort.
Reps for the frenemy candidates stopped short of calling the co-campaigning a cross-endorsement.
“Stay tuned,” said Chris Coffey, a spokesman for Yang, when asked if it was a cross-endrosement.
“Come and cover tomorrow,” added Lindsey Green, Garcia’s press secretary.
The odd political bedfellows will greet voters in Queens Saturday morning with Democratic Congresswoman Grace Meng, who endorsed Yang. Later they’ll head to Lower Manhattan for a joint press conference.
The awkward coupling, just three days before the primary, could draw attention away from the frontrunner, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. It also meshes with the results of a recent New York Post poll.
The survey found 21 percent of voters ranking Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams as their first choice, followed by 16.5 percent selecting civil rights lawyer Maya Wiley and 16.2 percent picking Garcia. Yang got 9.6 percent.
Garcia was the favorite second choice candidate with 12.4 percent of respondents naming her as their number two pick followed by Wiley at 11.5 percent, Adams at 11.4 percent and Yang at 9.2 percent.
Political strategists said rivals joining forces is necessary in the new world of ranked-choice-voting.
“We’re in uncharted territory right now. I’ve been involved in elections in New York City and New York State over 40 years,” said Allen Cappelli, a top strategist for Fernando Ferrer’s 2001 campaign for mayor.
“It’s probably necessary for the candidates to do this with ranked-choice voting. Nobody is going to get 50 percent on the first ballot. You’re looking for voters’ ballots to transfer to you.”
“In all likelihood the vote is going to five or six ballots at least,” said Cappelli, a Garcia supporter/volunteer. “Given the new dynamics, candidates have to adjust accordingly.”
Pollster John McLaughlin, whose firm McLaughlin & Associates conducted the Post mayoral survey, said the Garcia-Yang alliance looks like a “smart move to try to stop Adams and Wiley.”
The Post poll showed 23 percent of Garcia’s voters making Wiley their second choice, followed by, 22 percent to Stringer and 18 percent to Adams.
Adams gets the most second preference votes from Yang and Ray McGuire supporters.
“It looks like Yang is trying to move his supporters’ second choice votes from Adams to Garcia and Garcia is trying to move her voters’ second choice from Wiley to Yang,” McLaughlin said.