Former City Comptroller Scott Stringer is chatting with strategists and prospective donors about the possibility of mounting a primary challenge against Mayor Adams in 2025 and plans to make a final decision in January on whether to run, the Daily News has learned.
Stringer, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in the 2021 election after accusations of sexual harassment surfaced, recently contacted several local Democratic strategists to gauge their interest in working on his potential 2025 campaign team, according to three sources directly familiar with the matter.
One of the sources, who like the others spoke on condition of anonymity to talk about private discussions, said Stringer gave the impression in one of those conversations that he intends to run in the 2025 Democratic mayoral primary.
Should he launch a campaign, another source said Stringer would rely on his strong name recognition and position himself as “the grownup in the room” who gained financial expertise in his former role as comptroller — a profile that could prove useful as the city attempts to navigate uncertain fiscal waters in the years ahead.
That source said the January deadline Stringer has given himself to decide is tied to three things: raising enough money to run a competitive campaign, lining up institutional backing and sorting out the family logistics around him and his wife’s two elementary school-age kids.
Stringer wouldn’t categorically rule out a 2025 campaign when contacted Thursday afternoon, saying he only has no plans to run “at this time.”
“I’m gratified every day,” he said. “People come up to me on the streets and tell me they voted for me [in 2021]. Others who didn’t vote for me tell me they wish they had.”
In conjunction with laying the groundwork for a potential campaign team, Stringer has in recent weeks reached out to longtime supporters asking them to consider contributing money to his mayoral bid should he kick if off, the sources said.
Before leaving the comptroller’s office in late December 2021, Stringer served in state and city elected positions for nearly three decades.
A spokesman for Adams’ campaign did not immediately return a request for comment Thursday. As an incumbent, Adams holds significant advantages ahead 2025, including rigid support from most of the city’s public sector unions and a campaign war chest that already tops $2 million, records show.
Still, Stringer’s just the latest left-leaning Dem mulling a 2025 challenge against Adams as the mayor faces myriad political problems, including an FBI investigation into his 2021 campaign and a sexual assault accusation.
Sens. Jessica Ramos of Queens and Zellnor Myrie of Brooklyn are also known to be considering 2025 mayoral campaigns. Even Andrew Cuomo, the disgraced former governor who resigned in 2021 amid sexual assault accusations, is rumored to be considering a 2025 run for mayor.
Early on in the 2021 mayoral campaign, Stringer was viewed as a top-tier candidate.
But his run fizzled after Jean Kim came forward in spring 2021 with accusations that Stringer had sexually harassed and abused her two decades earlier while she volunteered on his unsuccessful 2001 public advocate campaign. A second woman, Teresa Logan, also came forward with accusations.
Stringer has denied both accusations and is suing Kim for what he’s described as false allegations made as part of a well-timed political hit.
In the wake of the allegations, a number of influential progressive lawmakers and organizations, including the Working Families Party, revoked their endorsements of Stringer’s mayoral bid, and he came in fifth in the 2021 primary, earning less than 60,000 votes, compared with the 404,513 Adams netted to win. Stringer raised nearly $4 million in private funds over the course of his 2021 campaign.
Allen Roskoff, a longtime political operative who has been recruiting challengers to Adams, said Stringer would be “a very formidable candidate” despite the allegations from 2021.
“I think people have come to realize that’s not who Scott is,” Roskoff said. “People have buyer’s remorse.”
Stringer’s interest in jumping into the 2025 race comes as Adams himself is fending off multiple scandals.
A woman who worked with Adams at the city’s Transit Police Department decades ago filed court papers last week saying she plans to file a lawsuit accusing the mayor of sexually assaulting her in 1993. Adams has denied the claim, saying he does not “recall who this person is” and that he “would never harm anyone.”
That sexual assault claim came weeks after FBI agents raided the home of Brianna Suggs, Adams’ top political fundraiser, as part of a federal investigation into allegations that the mayor’s 2021 campaign conspired with the Turkish government to funnel illegal foreign money into the campaign’s coffers via straw donors. Also as part of the probe, FBI agents seized Adams’ cell phones earlier this month and raided the home of Rana Abbasova, a longtime aide.
Adams has not been accused of wrongdoing as part of the FBI inquiry, which remains ongoing.