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Candidates emphasizing those problems over their ideological platforms have so far been faring better in the polls, but that benefit has not been extended to Garcia. She jumped into the race late and took longer to raise money than her rivals, some of whom have been plotting mayoral runs for years.

“If it’s going to be a value-based election, you probably shouldn’t have Yang doing so well. And you definitely shouldn’t have Eric Adams coming in second because he’s more moderate too,” said Matt Wing, a former spokesperson for both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and de Blasio, who supports Garcia’s campaign. “Joe Biden has shown us all how attractive really boring, competent governance is.”

Garcia’s slogan is “get shit done” — a mantra meant to embody her skill at cutting through the red tape of city bureaucracy. One of her marquee policy ideas is to streamline permitting for new businesses to only require one application — an idea that earned the backing of Yang, who did an event with her to promote it.
Those who have worked in the labyrinth of city government often point to her as among the most qualified candidates for the job.

Roughly one-third of the donations to Garcia come from city employees, many of whom attended a March fundraiser hosted by Glen and Kathryn Wylde, head of the prominent business consortium Partnership for New York City, according to the Garcia campaign. She was endorsed by Harry Nespoli, president of Teamsters Local 831, and three other unions representing the workforce she used to manage — but hasn’t garnered much new backing as of late.

Staten Island Borough President James Oddo, a Republican, told POLITICO he’s a “huge fan” — an acknowledgment of her crossover appeal in politically conservative areas. That can be a benefit while governing, but areas like Staten Island do not account for a bulk of Democratic primary votes.

She’s also won accolades from Council Member Antonio Reynoso, a left-leaning Democrat running for Brooklyn borough president who recently joined her for a press conference on organic waste. A New York Times editorial introducing readers to the candidates urged them to give her a closer look.

Garcia contends there’s still plenty of time to break out.

“If it was all locked up, then I’d be concerned. But it is not locked up,” she said. “They know these other folks and they’re not buying it.”

At least a quarter of voters are still undecided, the Spectrum News NY1/Ipsos poll found. Others point out that the mayoral race tends to heat up late in New York, with de Blasio lagging at this point in the 2013 primary.

“We are two months out. Not everyone has gone out on the air yet and, historically, New York races change in the last few months,” said Andrea Hagelgans, a former senior adviser to de Blasio, who has donated to Garcia’s and Maya Wiley’s campaigns.

Garcia’s New York City roots run deep.

She, her brother Matthew and her sister Elizabeth were adopted into a crowded household with five total siblings in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Her father, Bruce McIver, was the chief labor negotiator for former Mayor Ed Koch and her mother, Ann McIver, was an English professor at Medgar Evers College. She attended public elementary school and later Stuyvesant High School, a prestigious magnet school in Manhattan, and still lives two blocks away from her mom.

Garcia earned a reputation as a policy wonk early in her career. Council Member Brad Lander recalled knocking on Garcia’s door in 2009, seeking her vote for City Council by asking what issues mattered to her. Garcia immediately asked for his stance on the city’s water rates — a perennial issue among city property owners.

In Lander’s telling, he was “rope-a-doped.”

“If you’re at a door, the right answer is almost certainly, ‘The water rates are outrageous — the city is overcharging us,’” Lander said. “And she’s like, ‘You’re wrong’ and she patiently explained to me why what I said was not true and how much investment there is in the city’s water system and what is required.”

The exchange changed his mind.

“It reveals a long-standing focus on public infrastructures and what it takes to maintain them and a passion for that even when that’s not the sexiest thing. But also adding in the element of the wry trickery — of setting me up — just reveals a sense of humor about it as well,” said Lander, who is running for city comptroller and doesn’t plan to endorse in the mayoral race.

People close to Garcia’s campaign said they think her message can fare well among more moderate voters who care about the nuts-and-bolts of city services. They see potential to reach residents in the outer boroughs, but also in voter-rich enclaves like Garcia’s native Park Slope and the Upper West Side.

While Garcia touts progressive policies such as a pledge to make Rikers Island entirely renewable, she has distanced herself from that lane. She skipped the Working Families Party endorsement screening process, for instance, urging its members to instead back Dianne Morales, who eventually got the second-place endorsement behind Comptroller Scott Stringer. Stringer on Friday lost the party’s support after facing a sexual assault allegation.

“There are candidates who are further on the left than I am,” Garcia told POLITICO. “I have a more practical bent than others do.”

While Garcia has made strides in fundraising in recent weeks, she lacks the cash of some of her competitors to get her message out. She has raised $590,000, but the city’s public matching fund program brought her total to $2.6 million. Adams has about $7.8 million in his account, and is going after a similar voting base as Garcia. Yang has roughly $5 million to spend.

One thing that could change the equation is the city’s new ranked-choice voting system, allowing voters to rank up to five different candidates on their ballots. If no candidate wins a majority of votes, then the last place candidate is eliminated and their votes are parceled out to voters’ second choice — a process that’s repeated until somebody wins.

For a candidate like Garcia, the system could give her a boost.

“Can she cobble enough number one’s and lots of two’s and three’s to be a player? Maybe.” Oddo said. “Theoretically you can make an argument that she’s going to be up top for a lot of people’s ballots.”

For that to work, Garcia would need to develop a strong starter base to ensure she collected the votes of the candidate who is eliminated first.

It’s not a strategy her campaign is leaning into, according to people close to her campaign. The thinking is ranked-choice voting is still too new and unknown to try and mathematically game out the system. Most voters still aren’t familiar with it. But campaign insiders do think the groundswell of support for second could certainly boost her odds. As one person familiar with her campaign put it, “she’s a good bridge candidate.”

Garcia said the general plan now is to peak when the most people are tuned in.

“We intend to make sure we are popping when they are paying attention,” she said.

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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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