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“It’s the civic center of Brooklyn,” City Council Member Steve Levin said. “If you’re running for mayor, it’s kind of a perfect place.”

Candidates competing in the June 22 primary are banking on support in New York’s traditional battleground areas. But the advent of a ballot system allowing voters to rank up to five people in an eight-way field — with six first-time candidates who have no proven bases of support — has scrambled political conventions. Contenders are hitting low-turnout neighborhoods they would ordinarily bypass, while also trying to secure support on their opponents’ turf, with the hope of being ranked second or third.

Garcia and Wiley are trying to cut into Stringer’s base on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, while all three also compete in Brownstone Brooklyn. Adams expects to outperform his rivals in Central Brooklyn, though Wiley is refusing to cede that ground. Adams and Ray McGuire, a former finance executive, are dueling for support in the predominantly Black neighborhoods of Southeast Queens. And Yang, the former presidential candidate, is banking on piecing together a coalition of white moderates, Asians and Orthodox Jews — eating into voting blocs Adams had been counting on to expand his base.

And all are making a play for Latino voters, who are politically diverse, growing in numbers and have never had representation in the city’s highest elected office.

“The need to compete everywhere is magnified by ranked-choice voting,” Alex Navarro-McKay, who prepared the voter analysis for BerlinRosen, said. “In that respect, this election will look different than past multi-candidate primaries, where candidates focused on consolidating and mobilizing their bases.”

Further complicating candidates’ calculations is a shift in voting patterns since the last competitive mayoral election in 2013. A movement supporting far-left ideals has taken root in neighborhoods along the East River, though it remains to be seen whether their interest in national races translates into excitement for a municipal election without a candidate who has captured their devotion. Dianne Morales, who would seem a natural fit for those voters, has been dealing with a staff revolt over the past week.

New Yorkers of Hispanic and Asian descent are expected to be more consequential than in prior years, particularly since Yang, would make history as the city’s first Asian-American mayor.

Meanwhile, Stringer has been visiting churches in Southeast Queens — a predominantly Black area where voters generally favor moderate Democrats. It would seem like prime territory for Adams and McGuire — Black men with more centrist positions than Stringer, a white man who in 2019 backed a challenger to the local congressman’s pick for district attorney.

But Stringer, who has lost some support following contested allegations of sexual assault, sees an upside to campaigning in that area, which includes the two Assembly Districts that together accounted for 26,287 votes in the 2013 primary — making them the most civically active in the borough that year. The comptroller stopped by four churches in Jamaica, Queens on May 9, just as he was seeking to rehabilitate his candidacy from an accusation of sexual misconduct from 20 years ago.

“People in this community are raised to come out and vote,” Dennis Walcott, president of the Queens library and a lifelong resident of Southeast Queens, said recently, as he recounted the attention his neighborhood had been receiving from mayoral candidates.

Voters there appear split between Adams and McGuire, if endorsements and campaign cash are any indication.

Adams has received 424 donations totaling more than $80,000 in those two districts, according to a POLITICO analysis of data provided by the city Campaign Finance Board. That dwarfs financial support for his competitors in the area.

But McGuire has won endorsements from prominent Southeast Queens politicians, including Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), state Sen. Leroy Comrie and Assembly Member Vivian Cook. Perhaps more important, according to McGuire adviser Tyquana Henderson-Rivers, is support from civic organizations that drive people to the polls.

“We didn’t just go after grasstops and elected officials, and we certainly have our share out there. We’re holding our own with Eric,” Henderson-Rivers said in an interview. “We have the leadership of civic, tenant and block associations.”

“That’s what’s priceless,” she added. “I’ll take them anytime and twice on Sunday over some of these electeds.”

Another hotly-contested area is the Upper West Side of Manhattan — home to the 69th state Assembly District, which produced the largest vote total in the 2013 primary. Stringer grew up as a politician in that area and expects a strong showing, despite the recent allegation that cost him progressive endorsers.

In the days following the accusations that he groped a 2001 campaign volunteer against her will — a claim he has denied — several residents in the area told POLITICO they plan to vote for Stringer.

“I still support him. He’s a great candidate,” said 68-year-old Brent Saunders. “I always think of sexual harassment of someone using their power against someone. It’s becoming irritating for me because you’re hearing more and more of these stories, and it’s very irritating — the fact that almost anything is an issue.”

Others were dismissive of Wiley, who worked as City Hall attorney under outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio for two years and provided legal analysis on MSNBC. Wiley, a first-time candidate who would become the city’s first female mayor, is hoping to peel progressive voters from Stringer. But on the Upper West Side last month, one person referred to her as a “media personality” and another called her a “political dilettante.”

Nevertheless, Wiley has raked in nearly $92,000 from 1,171 donations in that Assembly District — more individual contributions than any candidate other than Stringer, who received $134,610 from 1,346 donors.

None of that was enough to move Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell, who represents that district and endorsed Garcia — a first-time candidate who worked as de Blasio’s sanitation commissioner and go-to crisis manager.

Garcia has been gaining momentum since the endorsement of the New York Times, which holds sway among left-of-center white Democrats. Her poll numbers have been improving and her fundraising has picked up steam. As her standing improves, Garcia has been spending more time on the Upper West Side, and on Friday greeted students and parents at a public school on West 84th Street.

“This is a citywide campaign that is building a grassroots coalition of number one support from every borough. Kathryn is going everywhere and talking to everyone, which is why she has the highest percentage of donations from New York City — 84.7 percent,” campaign spokesperson Lindsey Green said. “We’ll continue to be on the ground, citywide, through election day.”

Wiley’s team sees her path to victory as a mix of white liberals and Black voters, particularly those who reliably turn out in Central Brooklyn. The strategy mirrors de Blasio’s winning coalition and she has received some of the same endorsements he did in 2013 — most notably health care workers union 1199 SEIU.

At a recent campaign stop outside Brooklyn Borough Hall, Wiley told POLITICO she intends to campaign on the Upper West Side and in Central and Brownstone Brooklyn in the final weeks. “That’s where we have a lot of voters, but it also represents this broad coalition I’m pulling together which is Black, Latino, progressive and white, particularly white women,” she said.

Her staff has divided the city into three tiers based on demographics and past turnout. The team then determines how many first-, second- and third-place votes Wiley needs to win in each of those districts and focuses her time accordingly, according to a person involved in the strategy.

Wiley is hoping to steal support from Adams in his home base of Central Brooklyn, and capitalized on his weak relationships with high-profile politicians in that area to secure big-name endorsements like Reps. Hakeem Jeffries and Yvette Clarke. She planned to campaign with Jeffries Tuesday morning along Utica Avenue.

She has received 854 contributions totaling $52,842 in the 57th Assembly District, where a progressive upstart unseated an incumbent in a 2018 primary. Adams, by comparison, has $60,800 from 345 donors, according to POLITICO’s review.

“There’s some pretty striking commonality across neighborhoods. Eric’s traditional support in Central Brooklyn is definitely something that you see in Southeast Queens, but then also the very small but big-in-a-primary population on the North Shore [of Staten Island] and in the West Bronx,” Adams consultant Matt Rey said. “And the more people get to know him, the more they like him.”

In private, several people close to Adams have acknowledged Wiley’s potential to seize votes from him but believe she has been an underwhelming candidate.

Adams drew a lively crowd one recent Friday as he opened a campaign office in Crown Heights.

After the celebration, one supporter from East New York explained why he backs the former NYPD captain.

“As a Black man who has lived the majority of my 53 years on the planet in this city, and having been stopped, frisked and beaten several times by police officers in the city, I need, want and dream of change,” Derek Caldwell said.

Caldwell, who works in a homeless shelter, said he likes Wiley and appreciates “the sense of pride [Yang] has given Asian Americans” but does not like “his seeming lack of knowledge concerning police reform plans.”

He said he connects with Adams, who grew up in hardscrabble Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods. “His 20-some-odd years in law enforcement, his founding of the 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care and his experiencing of police abuse personally at 15 speaks volumes to me,” he said.

Adams has faced his share of setbacks this cycle at the hands of Yang, a former presidential candidate embarking on his first run for local office.

Yang, the son of Taiwanese immigrants, received the backing of prominent Asian politicians, including Rep. Grace Meng and state Sen. John Liu. Adams — recognizing the difficulty he may face as a moderate former cop appealing to white liberals — went into the race hoping to win over Asian-Americans, who have been voting in bigger numbers in recent years.

Yang also peeled away Orthodox Jewish leaders who bring the promise of a unified voting bloc in Brooklyn. Without Yang in his way, Adams had a much clearer shot at those endorsements.

And both are competing with Garcia for moderate white voters in lower-turnout areas like South Brooklyn and Staten Island. They are generally overlooked in Democratic primaries, but have become coveted in a muddled election with so many candidates and ranked-choice voting.

The entire borough of Staten Island, which has a healthy Republican population, produced just 23,219 votes in the 2013 Democratic primary for mayor — fewer than a single district on the Upper West Side.

“Staten Island doesn’t have a ton of votes, but one of the things we were trying to do from the beginning is start with a base of votes,” Yang co-campaign manager Chris Coffey said. “We’ll do really well with Jewish votes; we’ll do really well with Asian votes. And if you add Staten Island onto that, plus we expect to win Latinos, that’s a great place to start from.”

Adams has dominated the money race on Staten Island, receiving 454 donations that total $167,098, according to POLITICO’s analysis. Yang yielded $30,134 from 413 contributions.

The Bronx, which has a large Latino population and reliable voters in Riverdale, Norwood and Throgs Neck, has emerged as another battleground in the race. No candidate comes from the Bronx and all are hoping to claim its voters as their own.

Yang launched his campaign with the backing of Rep. Ritchie Torres, Wiley has been campaigning aggressively across the borough and Donovan has been frequenting Bronx mosques. Meanwhile Stringer is hoping to appeal to Latino voters with a general market ad focused on his Puerto Rican family ties.

Ruben Diaz Jr., the borough president who for years considered a run for mayor, believes the borough will deliver for Adams.

“Candidates have to play small ball. No one’s going to hit the big home run where one big community is going to come out in big numbers anymore. That’s not the way it works,” he said after a recent event with Adams outside City Hall. “So therefore the candidate that can put together the best diversity, the most diverse group of volunteers, supporters and validators I think wins the day. So far you see that out of Eric Adams.”

Jonathan Custodio, Amanda Eisenberg, and Jesse Naranjo contributed to this report.

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Guinea declares end to latest Ebola outbreak

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“I commend the affected communities, the government and people of Guinea, health workers, partners and everyone else whose dedicated efforts made it possible to contain this Ebola outbreak,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

“Based on the lessons learned from the 2014–16 outbreak and through rapid, coordinated response efforts, community engagement, effective public health measures and the equitable use of vaccines, Guinea managed to control the outbreak and prevent its spread beyond its borders.” The U.N. said it will continue to provide post-illness care.

The CDC welcomed the news in a statement.

“I commend the government and first responders in Guinea for ending the country’s Ebola outbreak,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. “Our heartfelt sympathies are with the people who lost loved ones to this disease. CDC remains committed to supporting survivor programs and helping strengthen global preparedness and response capacities that can prevent or extinguish future Ebola outbreaks.”

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Hard-line judiciary head wins Iran presidency amid low turnout

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In initial results, former Revolutionary Guard commander Mohsen Rezaei won 3.3 million votes and moderate Abdolnasser Hemmati got 2.4 million, said Jamal Orf, the head of Iran’s Interior Ministry election headquarters. The race’s fourth candidate, Amirhossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi, had around 1 million votes, Orf said.

Hemmati offered his congratulations on Instagram to Raisi early Saturday.

“I hope your administration provides causes for pride for the Islamic Republic of Iran, improves the economy and life with comfort and welfare for the great nation of Iran,” he wrote.

On Twitter, Rezaei praised Khamenei and the Iranian people for taking part in the vote.

“God willing, the decisive election of my esteemed brother, Ayatollah Dr. Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi, promises the establishment of a strong and popular government to solve the country’s problems,” Rezaei wrote.

The quick concessions, while not unusual in Iran’s previous elections, signaled what semiofficial news agencies inside Iran had been hinting at for hours: That the carefully controlled vote had been a blowout win for Raisi amid the boycott calls.

As night fell Friday, turnout appeared far lower than in Iran’s last presidential election in 2017. At one polling place inside a mosque in central Tehran, a Shiite cleric played soccer with a young boy as most of its workers napped in a courtyard. At another, officials watched videos on their mobile phones as state television blared beside them, offering only tight shots of locations around the country — as opposed to the long, snaking lines of past elections.

Balloting came to a close at 2.a.m. Saturday, after the government extended voting to accommodate what it called “crowding” at several polling places nationwide. Paper ballots, stuffed into large plastic boxes, were to be counted by hand through the night, and authorities said they expected to have initial results and turnout figures Saturday morning at the earliest.

“My vote will not change anything in this election, the number of people who are voting for Raisi is huge and Hemmati does not have the necessary skills for this,” said Hediyeh, a 25-year-old woman who gave only her first name while hurrying to a taxi in Haft-e Tir Square after avoiding the polls. “I have no candidate here.”

Iranian state television sought to downplay the turnout, pointing to the Gulf Arab sheikhdoms surrounding it ruled by hereditary leaders, and the lower participation in Western democracies. After a day of amplifying officials’ attempts to get out the vote, state TV broadcast scenes of jam-packed voting booths in several provinces overnight, seeking to portray a last-minute rush to the polls.

But since the 1979 revolution overthrew the shah, Iran’s theocracy has cited voter turnout as a sign of its legitimacy, beginning with its first referendum that won 98.2% support that simply asked whether or not people wanted an Islamic Republic.

The disqualifications affected reformists and those backing Rouhani, whose administration both reached the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and saw it disintegrate three years later with then-President Donald Trump’s unilateral withdrawal of America from the accord.

Voter apathy also has been fed by the devastated state of the economy and subdued campaigning amid months of surging coronavirus cases. Poll workers wore gloves and masks, and some wiped down ballot boxes with disinfectants.

If elected, Raisi would be the first serving Iranian president sanctioned by the U.S. government even before entering office over his involvement in the mass execution of political prisoners in 1988, as well as his time as the head of Iran’s internationally criticized judiciary — one of the world’s top executioners.

It also would put hard-liners firmly in control across the government as negotiations in Vienna continue to try to save a tattered deal meant to limit Iran’s nuclear program at a time when Tehran is enriching uranium at its highest levels ever, though it still remains short of weapons-grade levels. Tensions remain high with both the U.S. and Israel, which is believed to have carried out a series of attacks targeting Iranian nuclear sites as well as assassinating the scientist who created its military atomic program decades earlier.

Whoever wins will likely serve two four-year terms and thus could be at the helm at what could be one of the most crucial moments for the country in decades — the death of the 82-year-old Khamenei. Speculation already has begun that Raisi might be a contender for the position, along with Khamenei’s son, Mojtaba.

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Apathy greets Iran presidential vote dominated by hard-liner

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“My vote will not change anything in this election, the number of people who are voting for Raisi is huge and Hemmati does not have the necessary skills for this,” said Hediyeh, a 25-year-old woman who gave only her first name while hurrying to a taxi in Haft-e Tir Square after avoiding the polls. “I have no candidate here.”

Iranian state television sought to downplay the turnout, pointing to the Gulf Arab sheikhdoms surrounding it ruled by hereditary leaders and the lower participation in Western democracies. But since the 1979 revolution overthrew the shah, Iran’s theocracy has cited voter turnout as a sign of its legitimacy, beginning with its first referendum that won 98.2% support that simply asked whether or not people wanted an Islamic Republic.

The disqualifications affected reformists and those backing Rouhani, whose administration both reached the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and saw it disintegrate three years later with then-President Donald Trump’s unilateral withdrawal of America from the accord. Former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, also blocked from running, said on social media he’d boycott the vote.

Voter apathy also has been fed by the devastated state of the economy and subdued campaigning amid months of surging coronavirus cases. Poll workers wore gloves and masks, and some wiped down ballot boxes with disinfectants.

If elected, Raisi would be the first serving Iranian president sanctioned by the U.S. government even before entering office over his involvement in the mass execution of political prisoners in 1988, as well as his time as the head of Iran’s internationally criticized judiciary — one of the world’s top executioners.

It also would put hard-liners firmly in control across the government as negotiations in Vienna continue to try to save a tattered deal meant to limit Iran’s nuclear program at a time when Tehran is enriching uranium at its highest levels ever, though it still remains short of weapons-grade levels. Tensions remain high with both the U.S. and Israel, which is believed to have carried out a series of attacks targeting Iranian nuclear sites as well as assassinating the scientist who created its military atomic program decades earlier.

Whoever wins will likely serve two four-year terms and thus could be at the helm at what could be one of the most crucial moments for the country in decades — the death of the 82-year-old Khamenei. Speculation already has begun that Raisi might be a contender for the position, along with Khamenei’s son, Mojtaba.

Khamenei cast the first vote from Tehran, urging the public to “go ahead, choose and vote.”

Raisi, wearing a black turban that identifies him in Shiite tradition as a direct descendant of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, voted from a mosque in southern Tehran. The cleric acknowledged in comments afterward that some may be “so upset that they don’t want to vote.”

“I beg everyone, the lovely youths, and all Iranian men and women speaking in any accent or language from any region and with any political views, to go and vote and cast their ballots,” Raisi said.

But few appeared to heed the call. There are more than 59 million eligible voters in Iran, a nation of over 80 million people. However, the state-linked Iranian Student Polling Agency has estimated a turnout will be just 44%, which would be the lowest since the revolution. Officials gave no turnout figures Friday, though results could come Saturday.

Fears about a low turnout have some warning Iran may be turning away from being an Islamic Republic — a government with elected civilian leadership overseen by a supreme leader from its Shiite clergy — to a country more tightly governed by its supreme leader, who already has final say on all matters of state and oversees its defense and atomic program.

“This is not acceptable,” said former President Mohammad Khatami, a reformist who sought to change the theocracy from the inside during eight years in office. “How would this conform to being a republic or Islamic?”

For his part, Khamenei warned of “foreign plots” seeking to depress turnout in a speech Wednesday. A flyer handed out on the streets of Tehran by hard-liners echoed that and bore the image of Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2020. A polling station was set up by Soleimani’s grave on Friday.

Some voters appeared to echo that call.

“We cannot leave our destiny in the hands of foreigners and let them decide for us and create conditions that will be absolutely harmful for us,” said Tehran voter Shahla Pazouki.

Also hurting a moderate like Hemmati is the public anger aimed at Rouhani over the collapse of the deal, despite ongoing talks in Vienna to revive it. Iran’s already-ailing economy has suffered since, with double-digit inflation and mass unemployment.

“It is useless,” said Ali Hosseini, a 36-year-old unemployed resident in southern Tehran, about voting. “Anyone who wins the election after some time says he cannot solve problem of the economy because of intervention by influential people. He then forgets his promises and we poor people again remain disappointed.”

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