For decades, the Columbus Day Parade in New York City has been a must-stop for politicians and aspiring politicians—so much so that in 2002, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s decision to drop it made headlines for several days.
This year’s gathering, even factoring in the growing controversy surrounding the holiday, appeared no different: Mayor Bill de Blasio showed up and made some taunts. Gov. Kathy Hochul and some primary rivals were present. Longtime Republican mayoral contender Curtis Sliva also made his way along the Manhattan route.
But Eric Adams, the Democratic nominee for mayor of New York City and president of Brooklyn, did not attend the parade on Monday. His whereabouts were unclear: Mr Adams did not release any public events that day.
Indeed, Mr Adams, who secured the Democratic mayoral nomination in July and is almost certain to win next month’s general election, has been a relatively rare appearance on the campaign trail in recent weeks.
For his colleagues, Mr Adams’s less public schedule suggests an upward posture that has allowed him to focus on fundraising, preparing to govern and strengthening the vital ties needed in office. But it equates to a cautious approach that minimizes the risk of a hate remark, and limits media scrutiny of the man holding one of the most powerful positions in the country.
As of Tuesday – three weeks from election day – Mr. Adams’ campaign had released no more than five public events in October, with some more government-related advice issued by his city’s presidential office. He announced no campaign schedule over the weekend; The only advertised stop was a tour of the Association of Italian-American Organizations in Brooklyn, in his official capacity.
In contrast, a review of most of Mr. de Blasio’s public campaign programs since early October 2013 – during the last open-seat mayoral race in New York – shows that while he was barely barnstorming five boroughs every day, He gave advertisements, marched in parades and gave speeches as a near-daily public program of events.
“Regardless of the likely outcome, it never hurts to ask voters for their support, run their numbers, and go to City Hall,” said political strategist Monica Klein. De Blasio. “You don’t want to win by default, even if you’re running against a guy with 16 cats.”
Mr. Adams and his team strongly reject any suggestion that he is doing anything less than a frenzied program – even if they don’t always air their programs. In fact, Mr. Adams, who has long been a highly visible fixture in his hometown of Brooklyn, often appears at community and political gatherings across the city in appearances that his campaign did not advertise.
He claimed in a recent interview with NY1 that he is attending 13 events a day and campaigning until 1 p.m. An account of Mr. Adams’ schedule has been sought in recent weeks, a campaign spokesman said. , Evan Theis instead offered a list of 21 public events – a mix of government business and campaign activities – that he said Mr Adams had attended since Labor Day. The campaign said the list did not include events Mr Adams has participated in with volunteers and voters, or extensive media interviews.
Asked how Mr Adams spent his day on Monday, Mr Thies said he was organizing the event with volunteers.
“Eric has been working hard from early morning until very late at night,” said Mr. Theis, meeting voters and volunteers “and organizing events to ensure victory for those working on Election Day.”
“He is spending significant time preparing to become mayor if he succeeds on November 2, meeting with government, non-profit and business leaders to ensure he is ready to lead New York,” Mr. Theiss. he said.
But while government officials and office-seekers typically distribute their daily schedules in media advice, Mr. Adams’ campaign or government office did not widely publicize a remarkable number of the events Mr. Thies mentioned. Was.
The opaque nature of how Mr. Adams spends his time makes it difficult to gauge the full extent of his association with the mayoral race – but it doesn’t seem like he’s been a target every day in the final months of the competition.
It also raises the question of how transparent Mr Adams will be about his activities if he becomes mayor. (Mr. Adams has already faced other questions about the details of his schedule: his team declined to say where he was vacationing this summer, and he conducted important investigations at his residence. encountered.)
Mr Theis did not directly respond to a question about the kind of commitments Mr Adams was willing to make about the public program that would be released if he won.
“We do not always recommend campaign events and appearances because hosts and participants would prefer that we do not, and campaign strategy is often discussed,” Mr Theis said of the current race. “But Eric believes it is very important that members of the media have regular access to ask questions on behalf of the public, which is why he holds frequent press conferences and daily interviews with individual journalists. We do.”
Mr Adams was on the campaign trail on Tuesday, visiting an urban farm to discuss how to give New Yorkers better access to nutritious food and preventive health care. He has also highlighted policy proposals on issues including promoting public safety, the economy and housing, and his team and other colleagues emphasize that he is deeply focused on the transition.
“I know for a fact that he is working to build his administration, to get all the pieces together on the ground,” said state Senator John C. Liu, attending a rally for Mr. Adams. took.
There are signs that Mr Adams is beginning to ramp up his public schedule, announcing an appearance on both Tuesday and Wednesday. He’s also using his vital battle chest to start airing campaign ads.
New York City’s heavily Democratic leaning – it is even more Democratic now than it was when Mr. de Blasio first ran for mayor – means that virtually no political experts in the city see the race as competitive, and many Democrats Mr. Adams is optimistic about that. Clear public campaign style.
In part, that’s because many people refer to Mr. Sliva as Joseph J. Viewed as a far less credible opponent than Lotta, Mr. de Blasio’s 2013 Republican rival, who chaired the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and Mr. de Blasio still won that race by nearly 50. percentage points.
“Curtis Sliva is not a serious person,” said Bill Hires, who in 2013 was Mr. de Blasio’s campaign manager. “It’s not really a race anymore. It’s about getting ready to transition to the regime.”
2005 Democratic candidate Fernando Ferrer added Mr Adams: “He is doing exactly what he should be doing now: he is tying his coalition together and strengthening it, he has finished raising money, he Putting support in place. Focus on a campaign with Curtis Sliva of all people? Excuse me.”
There will be opportunities for Mr. Adams to do just that: two general election debates are scheduled, the first set for October 20, three days before early voting begins.
Of course, there have been occasional skirmishes between candidates: Mr. Adams has called Mr. Sliva, who has admitted to fabricating crime-fighting incidents, a “racist” who indulges in “antiques”; Mr. Sliva Hectors Mr. Adams Often.
In a brief phone call, Mr. Sliva, who has released a public event program almost every day this month, described Mr. Adams as “MIA, he’s invisible”.
“It’s a big difference from when he got out during the primary,” he said.
Mr. Sliva also defended his election prospects.
“Usually they think Republicans are like, ‘Oh, they’re going to meet Wall Street, Fortune 500, hedge fund monsters,'” Mr. Sliva said, suggesting he was a Republican of a different kind. . “It will come as a surprise to all of them, because I have support in places where Republicans generally don’t.”
In some ways, Mr. Adams’ approach is not so different from what President Biden did in the final weeks of the presidential election as the pandemic did last time.
“It’s like the President’s Rose Garden strategy, it’s the same approach,” said Lotta, who is now a Democrat. “A person who has enough leads doesn’t need to do as many events as they need to get their name out there.”
Michael M. Grinbaum, Luis Fer-Sadoorny, Dana Rubinstein and Tracy Tully contributed reporting.