Scott Stringer is increasingly losing progressive support in the fallout of sexual misconduct allegations leveled against him by former campaign worker Jean Kim this week, with the Working Families Party—seen as a prominent part of the New York City mayoral candidate’s prospects—pulling their endorsement on Friday afternoon, followed by a series of high-profile lawmakers. The Working Families Party’s withdrawal was apparently made easier in part by Stringer’s handling of the accusations, as he “failed to acknowledge and consider his responsibility,” Sochie Nnaemeka, the party’s state director, said in a statement. Kim on Wednesday said Stringer “repeatedly groped me, put his hands on my thighs and between my legs and demanded to know why I would not have sex with him” two decades ago, among other advances that Stringer allegedly told her to keep quiet about. Stringer has denied Kim’s accusations and claims that he and Kim were in a consensual relationship for a brief time. “Sexual harassment is unacceptable” and women “must be heard. But this isn’t me. I didn’t do this,” he told reporters Wednesday, vowing to “fight for the truth because these allegations are false.”
That defiance, coupled with a perceived inability to now win the race and a fear of alienating women within the organization if they did not pull their support, led the left-wing group to pivot, according to the New York Times. On Saturday, a number of progressive New York lawmakers followed suit, including state Senator Alessandra Biaggi, Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, and Rep. Jamaal Bowman. Queens councilman Jimmy Van Bramer also withdrew support, as did the New York chapter of Sunrise Movement, the climate-driven group that had co-backed Stringer and Dianne Morales—whom the Working Families Party had also endorsed as a second choice to Stringer.
Stringer attempted to position himself as the leading progressive in New York City’s mayoral race, where he gained significant steam after the Working Families Party threw him their support a few weeks ago. Shortly thereafter, the United Federation of Teachers union’s endorsement gave him further momentum. With support crumbling this week, a Stringer campaign staffer made matters worse for the imperiled campaign by accusing Kim of having political connections to his opponent, Andrew Yang, who has been leading in the polls. “I do not work and have never worked for the Andrew Yang campaign,” Kim said after Stringer’s aide pointed to her carrying petitions on behalf of the Yang campaign, noting she has “never met” the former presidential candidate and has “collected ballot signatures for multiple political candidates in different races” but is “not surprised at all by [Stringer’s] efforts to discredit” her. Maya Wiley, another contender in the race gaming for some of the same progressive support as Stringer has pursued, decried Stringer’s accusation as a “smear campaign” against Kim.
Yang’s own track record was questioned this weekend following a New York Times report about his Venture for America efforts, the nonprofit he founded to recruit college graduates to work at startups in cities where jobs were needed and ultimately teach them how to start their own companies. The campaign has pitched Yang’s work with Venture for America, which he led for a period of time, as evidence of his leadership capabilities and entrepreneurship. The idea was to create 100,000 jobs by 2025, and while running for president in 2020, Yang claimed the company had generated thousands of jobs. But Sunday’s analysis tells a different story, one that falls dramatically short of that pledge. “Only about 150 people work at companies founded by alumni in the cities that the nonprofit has targeted,” the Times reports, and only a small number of the fellows have gone on to start businesses of their own. “Most of those businesses have either closed or moved to traditional start-up hubs like Silicon Valley,” the Times adds.
More Great Stories From Vanity Fair
— The Great Villain of the Financial Crisis Is Dead
— Inside the Antiracism Tug-of-War at an Elite NYC Private School
— Ivanka Trump’s Vaccine Selfie Didn’t Go Over as Planned
— The Clubhouse Party Is Over
— Will Bill Barr Spill the Beans on Donald Trump?
— Brett Kavanaugh Rules Children Deserve Life in Prison With No Chance of Parole
— With Eye-Popping Auctions, News Outlets Are Jumping on the NFT Gravy Train
— From the Archive: Bernie Madoff’s World
— Not a subscriber? Join Vanity Fair to receive full access to VF.com and the complete online archive now.