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Will Progressives Be Kingmakers in the New York Mayor’s Race?


“The socialist left is on the rise, particularly in neighborhoods where Black and Latino residents are being gentrified out of existence,” said Representative Hakeem Jeffries, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, who represents parts of Brooklyn and Queens and may become the first Black House speaker. “To the extent the success of the socialist left is in part tied to gentrifying neighborhoods, it remains to be seen how that will impact a citywide race.”

How left-wing activists and organizations will choose to wield their influence is unclear. Were all the groups affiliated with the progressive movement to align behind one candidate, they could have a sizable impact on the race.

So far, they are not coalescing.

“There’s a big question of whether folks do,” said Jonathan Westin, the executive director of New York Communities for Change. “I think the candidate that is able to cobble together all of those groups is the candidate that is going to win.”

The New York City Democratic Socialists of America has endorsed six candidates for the City Council, a move that promises significant organizational assistance. But it has yet to make an endorsement in the mayoral race, and several people affiliated with the organization do not expect it to.

“If we had a mayoral candidate who came from the D.S.A., I think that would have been one thing,” said Susan Kang, a D.S.A. member and a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “We’re trying to be very strategic in how we use our labor.”

Another complicating factor is the popularity of Scott Stringer, the city comptroller and a leading mayoral candidate, among some prominent younger progressive lawmakers. In 2018, Mr. Stringer endorsed a D.S.A. stalwart, Julia Salazar, in her race for State Senate over the incumbent, Martin Dilan. Ms. Salazar won her race, and Mr. Stringer won her endorsement for mayor, along with several other high-profile endorsements from progressives.

Mr. Stringer has also won the backing of a few key unions, including most recently the Communications Workers of America, an early supporter of Mayor Bill de Blasio.

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