Mayoral candidate Scott Stringer’s campaign continued to lose high profile supporters on Friday over accusations he sexually assaulted a campaign volunteer 20 years ago – but the longtime Democratic politician has vowed to stay in the race.
Two days after city lobbyist Jean Kim came forward with allegations Stringer groped her in a cab – a account he vehemently denied – progressive backers, some of whom had since flanked him the start of his campaign, have moved away.
The Working Families Party, which had ranked Stringer number one in its three-way endorsement, withdrew its support on Friday afternoon in a statement that put the city’s comptroller in a pervasive “culture of sexual harassment” in politics. New York. The news was first reported by POLITICO.
“Jean Kim shared his experience of sexual assault and Scott Stringer did not acknowledge and consider his responsibility for this harm,” the group said in a statement, adding that it would support candidates it previously had. ranked second and third – Dianne Morales and Maya Wiley.
Then a group of lawmakers, whose campaign Stringer had founded, announced that they could no longer support him either.
In a one-sentence statement released Friday night, Stringer lost the support of State Senators Alessandra Biaggi, Gustavo Rivera and Julia Salazar, Assembly Members Yuh-Line Niou and Catalina Cruz and Representative Jamaal Bowman.
“We are rescinding our endorsement of Scott Stringer’s mayoral campaign,” all lawmakers wrote. They followed State Senator Jessica Ramos, an enthusiastic Stringer supporter who told POLITICO in a touching interview on Wednesday night that she feared her weakened candidacy would embolden Andrew Yang’s candidacy.
Sunrise Movement NYC, an environmental group, also withdrew its approval a day after Food and Water Action shut down a PAC it had launched to promote the Stringer campaign.
Shortly before Friday’s news went public, Stringer released a statement announcing the loss of support and vowing to continue.
“I understand that this is a difficult time for my supporters, and I know that some of them will feel compelled to withdraw their support for my candidacy,” he said. “This campaign has always been about people. I have received a lot of support during the campaign shutdowns over the past two days, and I will be campaigning in every neighborhood, in every borough for the next two months. “
“I can’t wait to see my opponents on the electoral track and during the debates,” he added.
Some supporters remain by his side, as his team continue to insist that Kim fabricate his story – a claim they have sought to reinforce by making holes in his narrative. Stringer said she was a fellow and a campaign volunteer for her 2001 Public Advocate run, and not an intern as she initially stated. They pointed out that she donated to her campaigns following the alleged assault. And they produced copies of the petitions for Yang that she distributed – petitions Kim said she carried for another candidate that appeared on ballots topped with Yang.
“I’m not interested in pushing anyone into the mayor’s office. My goal is to tell the truth and to hold Stringer accountable for his actions, ”Kim said in a statement issued by his lawyer, Patricia Pastor. “I’m not at all surprised by his efforts to discredit me. This is exactly what I expected him to do. Lie, attack and retaliate.
Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal and City Council Member Mark Levine, both Democrats from Manhattan, did not withdraw their endorsement, and several of Stringer’s backers predicted he would remain popular among his base in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Neither Rosenthal nor Levine responded to requests for comment on Friday.
The United Teachers’ Federation and Representative Jerry Nadler, a Stringer mentor, have yet to withdraw support – further proof that his longtime allies stand by his side as his new coalition breaks down.
The Working Families Party was a boon to Stringer’s credibility among the racially diverse progressive youth he saw as essential to victory in the June 22 primary. Receiving his support as a 60-year-old white career politician – ahead of Morales and Wiley, two women of color – demonstrated his political acumen.
But as party officials and lawmakers have weighed in on how to handle the allegations over the past two days, they have been troubled by his efforts to discredit Kim, according to several people involved in the talks.
“The way they handled it had a big impact on people’s response,” said a person familiar with the lawmakers’ decision. “You can’t just attack. You can not do this. … Maybe in 100 years we will have reached the point where there should be no presumption [of guilt.] But we’re not there yet, for good reason.
The working families group came to its conclusion during a Zoom call among its officers on Friday. There was mostly agreement on what to do next, but debate over whether to do it this week or wait and see how the story continues to play out, according to a person familiar with the discussions.
“People felt disappointed with the way he responded,” said another.