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Mayor Adams Unfazed by Primary Challengers Amid Rising Disapproval Rating

A Marist poll released last month indicated that 54% of New York City residents disapprove of Adams’ job performance, up from 24% in March 2022.
Mayor Eric Adams and advisors address the media ahead of his planned trip to Washington, D.C.

As the drumbeat of controversy surrounding New York City Mayor Eric Adams has gotten louder, several names have been floated as potential challengers to the incumbent in the 2025 Democratic Primary.

State Senators Zellnor Myrie and Jessica Ramos have flirted with the idea. So has former Comptroller Scott Stringer, according to reports. Even Andrew Cuomo, the disgraced former governor who resigned after a criminal investigation into his alleged sexual misconduct, has been discussed in some circles. 

Adams, for his part, is hardly concerned. The Brownsville native cited the 2021 Primary when Andrew Yang got off to a hot start in the polls.

“He was so happy on skateboards and, you know, cheery-faced, and all of a sudden people heard my message, and those 13 points went to one point and then all of a sudden I was up,” Adams said.

The mayor, though, has seen his popularity dip amid the ongoing migrant crisis, his sweeping budget cuts, the FBI investigation into his 2021 campaign and the sexual abuse lawsuit filed against him. A Marist poll released last month indicated that 54% of New York City residents disapprove of Adams’ job performance, up from 24% in March 2022. 

In response to the public perception, Adams has orchestrated a shift in his communications strategy. The administration recently started holding weekly press briefings at City Hall in an attempt to provide “New Yorkers with a better line of sight into the work their city government is doing for them,” said Fabian Levy, deputy mayor for communications.

On Tuesday, Levy was one of the nine staffers alongside Adams at the briefing, including Sheena Wright, first deputy mayor; Ingrid Lewis‑Martin, chief advisor to the mayor; Meera Joshi, deputy mayor for operations; Maria Torres-Springer, deputy mayor for housing, economic development and workforce; Anne Williams‑Isom, deputy mayor for health and human services; Ana Almanzar, deputy mayor for strategic initiatives; Lisa Zornberg, chief counsel; and Michael LiPetri, police department chief of crime control strategies. 

“I have a good team. They know their roles. They're carrying out their roles. I have a lot of confidence in my team here,” Adams said. “And that is why we do these briefings, so you can see that this is not the Eric Adams show; this is the Eric administration show. And so we're going to continue to do that, manage this city and navigate us out of this crisis.”

On Thursday, Adams will make his 10th trip to Washington D.C., to address the migrant situation with lawmakers, his first since Comptroller Brad Lander revoked his emergency powers to make deals with contractors for migrant services sans approval.

Adams’ most recent visit to the nation’s capital on Nov. 2 was cut short after federal agents raided the home of Brianna Suggs, Adams’ former chief fundraiser, as part of the investigation into his campaign. Adams rushed back to New York to address the raid. 

Adams declined to reveal how often he is meeting with his attorneys, but insisted he has the “strength” to continue managing the city amid all of the controversy.

“Every mayor that I’ve communicated with stated, 'Don’t wake up every day hoping that there’s not another crisis going on; wake up hoping for the strength to be able to do that,'” Adams said in reference to managing crises. 

The federal investigation has revealed the apparent existence of a list used to prioritize fire safety inspections from certain developers, according to Gothamist, but on Tuesday, Adams and his advisors pushed back on the report.

Lewis-Martin said the list was made by the Fire Department for former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration, and Torres-Springer, who was named in the report, insisted that the administration merely cuts "red tape and moves projects forward."

“I have served the people of this city for the greater part of two decades. I've served the last three mayors. I've run three agencies. And now I have the fortune of being one of the mayor's deputy mayors,” Torres-Springer said. “You don't get to do that role by cutting corners. You get to this point because you fight for New Yorkers.”

Joshua Needelman

About the Author: Joshua Needelman

Joshua Needelman is a Brooklyn-born freelance writer.
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