Maya Wiley Racks Up More Progressive Endorsements, But Left Remains Divided

Mayoral candidate Maya Wiley picked up the endorsements of three left-leaning state lawmakers on Friday, as well as the full support of the Working Families Party, which previously endorsed three candidates.

But with several other key progressives in the state legislature sitting on the sidelines, and just eight days before the start of early voting, it’s unclear if the New York City’s progressive left can unite behind any single candidate in the heated race for mayor.

At a bar in East Williamsburg Friday afternoon, State Senator Julia Salazar and State Assemblymember Maritza Davila, who had previously endorsed Scott Stringer, and State Assemblymember Emily Gallagher formally announced their support for Wiley.

“We are feeling the coalescence,” Wiley said, hinting that progressive New Yorkers might now consider ranking her at the top of their list, with Stringer’s campaign marred by now two allegations of sexual harassment, and Morales’s campaign near the brink of implosion due to internal conflict with her staff.

“It is clear, and I say this with a humble honor, that I am the progressive that’s gonna win this race,” Wiley declared.

Later on Friday afternoon the Working Families Party said they’d suspended their support for Morales, citing the ongoing turmoil swirling around her campaign. In April, the WFP endorsed three candidates: Stringer, Morales and Wiley. By Friday, they were down to just one.

“As Eric Adams and Andrew Yang continue to push dangerous pro-corporate, pro-carceral agendas, it’s more important than ever that we consolidate progressive strength to ensure a working people’s champion wins this year,” said Sochie Nnaemeka, the head of the state’s Working Families Party. “Maya Wiley has the momentum, platform and growing diverse coalition to win this race.”

Absent from Wiley’s Friday presser was State Senator Alessandra Biaggi, Jessica Ramos and Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, who’d joined Salazar in endorsing Scott Stringer early on in his campaign. The five lawmakers all withdrew their support in the days after New York City lobbyist Jean Kim came forward saying Stringer had sexually harassed and assaulted her during his 2001 public advocate campaign.

While Senator Ramos had previously told Gothamist/WNYC about the urgency for left-leaning New Yorkers to unite behind one progressive candidate, she declined to comment further when contacted Friday. Niou and Biaggi didn’t return requests for comment either.

“Maya to me has been the most consistent candidate. She has been the candidate who has maintained integrity throughout her entire campaign,” said Salazar, explaining why had decided to back Wiley after all. “That became evident and clearer to me the closer that we have gotten to election day.”

Centrist candidates Andrew Yang and Eric Adams have surged ahead of the pack in the crowded race for New York City mayor. More recently Kathryn Garcia, also a moderate, appears to have gained some momentum, following her high-profile endorsement from the New York Times.

But with just over a week left before the start of early voting, some progressive groups have abandoned the idea of getting behind one single candidate altogether, instead focusing their messaging around who their supporters shouldn’t rank at all; namely Andrew Yang and Eric Adams. Progressives cite both Yang and Adams’ positions on charter schools, criminal justice issues among others, as well as millions of dollars in funding from Super PACs tied to right-wing billionaires.

“Let Maya or Scott or Dianne make the case for themselves as to why they should earn people’s votes,” said Gabe Tobias with the left-leaning political action committee Our City. The group’s supporters recently heckled Yang away from a planned stop outside the Park Slope YMCA Thursday afternoon. “We’ll just be here to say, ‘Hey if you’re a progressive, you share our vision for the city, these are people, even if they’re saying the words, that these people should not be trusted with that kind of vision.”

The PAC is launching a larger push to encourage people not to rank either of the two perceived frontrunners in the race in the coming days.

“There’s people still making up their minds,” Tobias said, adding “and probably will be until the last minute.”