Who’s the NYC Business Community’s Choice for Mayor?

Democratic mayoral candidates, clockwise from top left: Ray McGuire, Maya Wiley, Shaun Donovan, Andrew Yang, Kathryn Garcia, Dianne Morales, Eric Adams and Scott Stringer. Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY, Hiram Alejandro Durán/THE CITY, Morales Campaign

By: Greg David – www.TheCity.com

Just this week, Brooklyn businessperson Gil Cygler launched a PAC called Better NY for All to raise $500,000 to fund ads in support of Eric Adams’ campaign for mayor as well as a few other select candidates in the borough.

“A lot of small business people are being hurt by the leftward shift in the city and there has to be a better balance between the leftward shift, the need for reform, public safety and help for business,” said Cygler, who ran a rental car company for many years.

With less than three weeks to go before the mayoral primary and following a bruising in-person debate this week, business leaders have divided the Democratic candidates for mayor into those they believe embrace that business is part of the solution to the city’s recovery from the pandemic recession — and those who do not.

Crime has emerged as a crucial issue for business leaders, although keeping city tax bills level is not far behind. Confidence in the candidates’ ability to run the city is also emerging as an important differentiator.

“You need a mayor that understands that business and real estate cannot be the enemy,” Bill Rudin, CEO of one of the city’s most important real estate firms and a longtime civic leader told THE CITY.

“One that understands we are a progressive city but to do that you need to maintain the job creation that has driven the city for 25 years — in a sustainable and inclusive way,” added Rudin, who contributed $5,000 last month to an independent group backing Ray McGuire, state election board records show.

More than a dozen business leaders interviewed in recent days by THE CITY, both on the record and not for attribution, declined to name their top mayoral pick — though just about all made it clear who won’t get their vote.

Some said they still aren’t sure of their No. 1 choice and note the advent of ranked choice voting ads adds extra complexity to navigating the crucial June 22 primary.


A Tale of Two Lists

Most business leaders are reluctant to name the names on their scorecards, but Adams as well as former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, ex-HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and Citigroup executive Ray McGuire generally fall into the acceptable column.

Entrepreneur and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s policies are regarded as pro-business, but what some see as his lack of knowledge of the city has raised concerns.

“Again with the goofy ‘Hello New York City’ opener (this is a mayoral debate, not “SNL”) and ending with a shout out for a Knicks win. Does he take this race seriously?” Kathryn Wylde, CEO of the big business group the Partnership for New York City, asked Wednesday night in a post-debate assessment for The New York Times.

(Originally published at www.TheCity.com)