Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Maya Wiley in the race for mayor of New York, a move that has the potential to shake up the race and makes it more likely the city will have its first female mayor. “We have an option of a candidate who can center people, racial justice, economic justice, and climate justice that didn’t just come up to run for mayor, but has experience,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “That candidate is Maya Wiley.” The lawmaker’s unexpected endorsement is expected to unite progressives behind the civil rights lawyer after lots of divisions in the campaign. “Maya Wiley grew up in the movement. She was raised in this,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
The endorsement came a week before the start of early voting for the June 22 primary that is all but certain to determine who will be the city’s next mayor. Until Saturday, it was unclear whether Ocasio-Cortez would endorse a candidate at all but she threw her support behind Wiley at a time when the other big-name progressives in the race suddenly lost momentum as they became embroiled in scandal and internal upheaval. City Comptroller Scott Stringer had received lots of important endorsements but lost support after accusations of sexual misconduct, and nonprofit executive Dianne Morales was suddenly met with an internal revolt by staffers amid accusations of unfair working conditions.
“It is so important that we come together as a movement and rank Maya #1, because if we don’t come together as a movement, we will get a New York City built by and for billionaires,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Maya Wiley is the one. She will be a progressive in Gracie Mansion.” For now, the little public polling that is available shows the progressive candidates behind the more moderate contenders, including former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams, and former sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia.