The Three Unknowns of the Scott Stringer Controversy

We don’t know what happened in 2001. We can’t be sure we’ll ever find out for sure, or when. And it’s unclear that it will really affect the 2021 mayoral race, where Eric Adams and Andrew Yang continue to appear dominant.

Morales, Wiley, Garcia and Adams campaigns

Who—if anyone—will benefit from the allegations that have tainted Scott Stringer’s candidacy? Dianne Morales (left), Maya Wiley (top), Kathryn Garcia (bottom) and Eric Adams (right) seem likely beneficiaries, though it’s possible no one will gain very much.

Within a span of five hours on Tuesday, the lawyer for Jean Kim, the woman who has accused Scott Stringer of sexual misconduct in 2001, said she’d filed an official complaint with the state attorney general; a news outlet published a story raising questions about Kim’s story; and another progressive organization—Citizen Action—yanked its endorsement of the embattled comptroller. 

The next day, a private survey showed Eric Adams pushing Andrew Yang out of the lead in the mayoral race, Stringer holding on to about as much support as he’s ever demonstrated in polls, and none of the three women in the contest—Kathryn Garcia, Dianne Morales or Maya Wiley—really in the running, even though two of them (the more progressive Morales and Wiley) were thought to be likely beneficiaries of Stringer’s flagging prospects. 

They were just two days and one poll, but together it all seemed to illustrate the three-layered uncertainty that the allegations against Stringer have introduced into the race. It is unclear whether the accusations or Stringer’s defense are true, uncertain whether we will ever get a definitive answer to that question, and unknown whether it will matter to the outcome of the very unusual 2021 mayoral campaign.

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