I lived in Brooklyn for almost exactly five years--from December, 2012 to December, 2017. Eric Adams, the likely winner of the 2021 New York City mayoral race, became Borough President shortly after I moved there.
I never liked Eric Adams. There was something about him I found deeply off-putting. However, as Borough President is largely a ceremonial position, I basically ignored the feeling (and Adams). And, after I went back to Manhattan, I never thought about Adams at all.
However, when Adams announced his run for mayor of New York City, I felt obligated to determine the source of my distaste for him; it was possible that this visceral dislike had more to do with implicit biases and more than a few minimal cues on my part than anything Adams said or did. On top of that, Adams could have been the most qualified candidate in the race. The last thing I wanted to do was get behind a non-starter simply because I “just didn’t like” the most suitable candidate.
So I did my research. I found out that Adams, during his stint in the New York State Senate, allegedly cursed at fellow lawmakers for voting to expel another lawmaker who had been credibly accused and later convicted of assaulting his girlfriend. Then I found out that he didn’t officially distance himself from this lawmaker until early this year. I discovered that Adams was a Republican for four years at the turn of the century, even going so far as to describe himself as a “conservative Republican” at one point. I found it odd that Adams sought to join the NYPD after being viciously assaulted by NYPD officers in his youth. In 2020, I found myself agreeing with many of the criticisms he made of gentrification but found myself wincing at his tone. Later in the year, I grumbled about his flouting of COVID-19 restrictions at an indoor fundraiser. A Politico report alleging that he failed to report rental income on his tax returns made me queasy. I was downright alarmed by Adams’ willingness to reinstate “stop and frisk" despite the fact that he had once passionately advocated for its repeal. Yes, there were rumors of corruption (and actual investigations) swirling but this is New York. All of the politicians here have been or will be investigated at some point.