The Working Families Party, a major left-wing institution, is withdrawing its support for Mayor Scott M. Stringer’s campaign over an allegation of sexual misconduct, according to a person familiar with the decision.
The withdrawal of the endorsement, which is expected to be announced on Friday afternoon, is a critical blow for Mr Stringer and complicates his path in the race for mayor in New York. It may also open the door to further defections from Mr Stringer, who has led a campaign that places a heavy emphasis on approvals.
Mr Stringer, the city controller, has sought to be the left-wing standard-bearer in the contest and has gained momentum in recent weeks, in part thanks to support from the Working Families Party. But the sexual misconduct charge of a former campaign agent, which came to light this week, sparked an uproar, putting growing political pressure on the candidate.
The woman, Jean Kim, now a political lobbyist, accused Mr Stringer of sexually assaulting her while working on her 2001 run for public counsel. She said Mr. Stringer, who was then a member of the State Assembly, groped her, made other unwanted sexual overtures and told her to keep these actions silent. Mr Stringer vigorously denied the allegations, saying they had a consensual relationship that spanned a few months.
But he faced mounting pressure this week, losing the support of several prominent lawmakers who had backed his campaign. A person familiar with the Working Families Party’s decision said its members felt Mr. Stringer was dismissive of Ms. Kim and her story.
Mr Stringer, who insisted on a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment and said he believes women deserve to be heard, issued a precautionary statement earlier on Friday afternoon.
“I understand that this is a difficult time for my supporters, and I know that some of them will feel pressured to withdraw their approval of my candidacy,” he said. “This campaign was always going to be 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.