Winning Candidate Analysis

Ranked Choice Voting Contributes to most Diverse City Council in NYC History

Eric Adams is projected to be the city’s second African American mayor, winning 51% of the vote in a close race against Kathryn Garcia and Maya Wiley. In the city council elections, candidates of color won 35 Democratic primaries, up from 26 primaries in the previous cycle. 29 out of 51 seats are projected to go to women in the general election, which will be the largest number of women in the history of the city council. Additionally, 6 seats went to LGBTQ+ candidates. 

The candidate fields themselves were also historically large and diverse as candidates from a wide variety of backgrounds were empowered to run for office. 73% of all candidates were people of color and 43% were women or non-binary. Each race averaged a field of 6.5 candidates, over 2.5 times the 2017 average of 2.6. The introduction of RCV coincided with an expansion of public financing in New York City, possibly contributing to the large number of candidates running for office. 

Several races resulted in trailblazing outcomes. As reported by Common Cause NYC, Crystal Hudson and Kristin Richardson Jordan will be the first out queer Black women on the City Council; Chi Osse, at 23, will be the youngest-ever Council member; Shahana Hanif will be the first Muslim woman and among the first South Asian Council members; Jennifer Gutiérrez will be the first Colombian-American; and Shekar Krishnan will be the first Indian American.

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Condorcet Winners

The Condorcet criterion states that the candidate who would win a one-on-one match-up against every other candidate should win the election. If such a candidate exists, they are known as the “Condorcet winner”.

In our cast-vote-record (CVR) analysis, we calculated head-to-head match-ups between candidates and found that every ranked choice winner was also a Condorcet winner, including the three candidates that "came from behind" to win their respective races. 

View Condorcet tables here

In the Mayor's race, Eric Adams wins in head-to-head match ups against every other candidate, making Adams the Condorcet winner. He wins 50.45% of match-ups against Kathryn Garcia, who came in second place, followed by 54.89% of match-ups against Maya Wiley. This matches the order of elimination in the ranked choice tally, with Maya Wiley being eliminated in the penultimate round before Kathryn Garcia. However, interestingly enough, Kathryn Garcia falls short in a head-to-head match-up against Maya Wiley. This is because removing Eric Adams from the race reveals that his voters preferred Wiley to Garcia as their second choice, meaning Wiley wins 50.58% of match-ups against Garcia. 


Come-From-Behind Winners

In 3 of NYC's 52 primary elections held with RCV, the ultimate winner was not the candidate who had the most first-choice support. These three "come-from-behind winners" demonstrated broad consensus in later rounds. 

The come-from-behind winners are:

Come-from-behind wins typically happen about 10% of the time in competitive races, and they indicate a candidate who has built strong support among second- and third-choice preferences in addition to their first-choice support. Sometimes, come-from-behind winners indicate a situation which would have the potential for vote-splitting in plurality elections, but in which RCV identifies the candidate who is honestly preferred by more voters.


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