Who Will Challenge Eric Adams for Mayor in 2025?

Who Will Challenge Eric Adams for Mayor in 2025?

Photo: State Sen. Zellnor Myrie and former Comptroller Scott Stringer are challenging Mayor Eric Adams during his 2025 reelection campaign. Credit: Ben Fractenberg/The CITY

By Ashley Borja, Katie Honan, and Rachel Holliday Smith

With Mayor Eric Adams’ 2021 campaign facing federal investigation and dismal polling numbers with high disapproval from New Yorkers, it’s no surprise that candidates have already raised their hand to try and make him a one-term mayor.

Adams has spoken out for months about a “coordinated effort” to kick him out of City Hall in 2025 — and there have already been attempts by the city’s top progressives to figure out who could do that.

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Whoever tries will have to overcome a well-financed incumbent, no matter what the polls say. Adams has already filed fundraising records four times with the city Campaign Finance Board, generating nearly $3 million in total campaign contributions as of June 21st, 2024. That puts him financially ahead of all registered competitors so far in mid-2024, according to campaign finance records.

Only two serious contenders so far have officially come forward: former city Comptroller Scott Stringer and State Senator Zellnor Myrie, who announced their campaign in January and May, respectively. Several other lesser known competitors have registered with the campaign board, but have no active campaigns.

When asked about potential challengers last year — and those rooting against him —  Adams told THE CITY, “Wait before you hate.” 

Here’s a look at the candidates who are officially challenging Adams in the 2025 election cycle, and those who haven’t yet thrown their hat in the ring, but aren’t quite ruling it out either:  

In the Race

Scott M. Stringer 

Former New York City comptroller, Manhattan borough president and 2021 mayoral candidate. 

Stringer formed an early committee to explore a possible mayoral run against Adams, registering with the campaign finance board and announcing the move in January 2024. 

The former comptroller has been a frequent critic of the mayor’s administration, describing the Adams agenda as “minimalist” to the New York Times. 

When it comes to running the city, Stringer has touted his experience, saying he knows his way around New York City’s finances and is able to both lead and manage. Before his time as comptroller, he served as Manhattan borough president and as a State Assembly member. And he isn’t new to competing against Adams; he ran against the mayor in 2021. But he’ll have to overcome what overshadowed that mayoral run: accusations of a sexual assault from his longtime associate Jean Kim. 

Scott Stringer filed a defamation suit against Kim stating she caused irreparable harm to him and his political future, but it was initially dismissed by a New York Supreme Court Judge last year. Soon after Stringer appealed, and in April 2024 a state appeals court ruled that he can move forward. 

Looking for where he’s stood on the issues? Here’s our “Meet Your Mayor” policy profile of him during the 2021 race.

THE CITY reached out to Stringer’s team and has not yet heard back.

State Senator Zellnor Myrie

State senator representing parts of Central Brooklyn and chair of the Senate elections committee.

State Senator Myrie represents the same district in Crown Heights where Adams once served as a senator himself. Another outspoken critic of the Adams administration, Myrie’s run was purely speculative until he launched an exploratory committee in May.

 In an interview with NY1’s “Inside City Hall” as he announced his intentions, he said, “This administration has been fumbling the nuts and bolts of government and I think frankly they have disappointed many New Yorkers that I am speaking to.”

Myrie has made a name for himself in the Senate by spearheading several vote reform changes, including establishing a statewide voting and elections database, giving voters notice of deficiencies in their absentee ballot with room to fix it so their vote can count, and allowing snacks and non-alcoholic drinks to be given to voters waiting in line at the polls.

Just recently, Myrie sponsored a bill to provide universal after-school programming across the state.

His challenge will be getting folks from outside of Brooklyn to recognize him; he has not served in elected office anywhere else, and was a first-time candidate when he successfully ran for his current seat in 2018. 

THE CITY reached out to Senator Myrie’s team and has not yet heard back.

The following people have registered as 2025 mayoral candidates with the Campaign Finance Board, but they have yet to make public statements about their runs, and THE CITY could not reach them:

  • Darren D. Aquino
  • Eric W. Armstead 
  • Mathieu O. Odula 
  • Stephen G. Sifontes 
  • Von S. Del Valle
  • John R. Harris 

The Maybes

Who else might run against Adams? Here are the people who have floated the idea, haven’t ruled it out, or may be considering it, according to THE CITY’s running list:

Andrew Cuomo 

The former governor of New York, elected for three terms. 

According to Politico quoting members of his inner circle, Cuomo is mulling a run for mayor  — but only if Adams is not a candidate in the 2025 primary.

If he runs, Cuomo would have to overcome the accusations that circled him as he resigned from office, including sexual harassment (which he has denied) and mismanagement of the state during the pandemic.

Before he served three terms as governor, he served as New York’s attorney general between 2007 and 2010 and as the U.S. Housing Secretary before that.

Councilmember Diana Ayala

Deputy speaker of the City Council representing parts of The Bronx and Manhattan and chair of the council’s general welfare committee.

Ayala told Politico while at the Somos conference in late 2023 that she was having preliminary conversations about potentially running. She’s been a frequent critic of Adams, particularly over his plans to weaken the city’s right to shelter law.

Ayala told THE CITY she was “Considering it. Why not?” when asked over text about running last year. “We have never had a woman or a Latino mayor and we obviously have to explore our options, considering the existing political structure,” she added.

State Senator Jessica Ramos

State senator representing parts of Queens, chair of the Senate’s labor committee.

Ramos has been rumored as a potential candidate for months, particularly as she has become a frequent and public critic of the mayor for his policies and comments around asylum seekers. 

She told POLITICO at the Somos conference in late 2023 that the idea of who could run for mayor was a “sexy topic” but she was also focused on what was happening with federal funding for migrants. Still, she hadsn’t ruled anything out. 

“Somebody should, maybe it’ll be me,” she told THE CITY at the time.

THE CITY reached out to Senator Ramos’ team and has not yet heard back.

Comptroller Brad Lander

Comptroller, former city councilmember

Lander was elected to the City Council in 2009, where he represented parts of Brooklyn including Park Slope. He was elected as the city’s comptroller in 2021. 

In the years since, he’s been a persistent foe to Mayor Adams, fighting over the city’s response to the migrant crisis and weighing in on the recent Charter Review Commission with budget suggestions. The mayor has criticized and mocked Lander, calling him the “loudest person in New York City” but saying he hasn’t offered any solutions for the city’s issues.

The left-leaning Lander has not officially registered or announced that he’ll run for mayor, but he is reportedly getting closer to announcing a mayoral run in 2025.

This article is adapted from a previous version published by THE CITY in 2023.

This article was published by THE CITY on June 24, 2024.

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