Scott Stringer seeks redemption.
The embattled New York City mayoral candidate traveled to churches in Brooklyn on Sunday, pledging to press ahead with his campaign after losing most of his high profile supporters on sexual misconduct allegations.
“In the midst of a crisis, if you feel like you’re feeling down, come to church. I’ve had some problems myself this week. But what really matters is how you get up and solve the problem,” Stringer said in the Evening Star Baptist Church in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
“Nobody knocks me down. I’ll get up straight. I’ll make my case. I’ll make sure people hear what I have to say,” he said.
A former campaign volunteer, Jean Kim, accused Stringer of fondling and kissing her when he ran for the New York attorney 20 years ago. He denies the allegations.
On Saturday evening, Rep. Adriano Espaillat (DN.Y.), City Councilors Mark Levine and Diana Ayala, Congregation member Carmen De La Rosa (D-Manhattan), and State Senator José Serrano (D-Bronx) were the youngest group of supporters to withdraw their support . A coalition of Muslim groups that campaigned for Stringer last Sunday also revoked their approval on Saturday.
This followed the withdrawal of the Working Families Party on Friday and a bevy of young progressive lawmakers whose support was vital to Stringer’s campaign – Sens. Alessandra Biaggi (D-Westchester), Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx) and Julia Salazar (D -Brooklyn). Congregation members Yuh-Line Niou (D-Manhattan) and Catalina Cruz (D-Queens) and Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.).
Stringer referred briefly and indirectly to his problems in his remarks in three churches in Brooklyn, but otherwise stuck to his normal blunt speech and promised to give priority to equality in the city’s comeback from Covid-19. He plans to follow a regular, full campaign schedule in the coming days to weather the controversy according to his campaign.
“You’re losing some old friends, you have to make new friends,” Stringer told reporters on Sunday. “So I’m on my way to run for mayor.” When asked who these new friends would be, he said, “We’ll see on election day.” Primary school is scheduled for June 22nd.
Although Stringer tried unsuccessfully to keep his followers on board, he publicly brushed off their decisions to draw their endorsements.
“I’ve made my statements. People have to make decisions, ”he said. “Now I have to go out and campaign. I have to be on TV. I have to be on the street. I have a very big schedule and we’re doing what we can. But I am very optimistic. I expect to be the next New York City Mayor. “
Stringer says he had a friendly, consensual relationship with Kim two decades ago and vigorously denied her account, including allegations that he put his hands in her pants, touched her thighs during taxi rides, and asked, “Why not? you f — me? “
He repeated his rejection in an interview broadcast on WABC’s “Up Close with Bill Ritter” on Sunday.
“I have no hesitation in saying that each of these allegations is absolutely and categorically denied,” he said. “I don’t talk like that. I don’t act like that. “
He said he believed two key supporters, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) And the United Federation of Teachers plan to stay with him.
The UFT said there had been no change in its endorsement. Nadler did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Stringer vowed not to drop out of the race as several of his opponents had asked him to do.
“Hold on. Tell everyone to save me a place in the debate phase. I can’t wait for that,” he said.
When Stringer gave up his support, other mayoral candidates took notes on Sunday.
Attorney Maya Wiley was endorsed by Jeff Aubry, a member of the Queens Assemblym, and formed a coalition called the Black Men for Maya.
Several Muslim organizations supported the President of the City of Brooklyn, Eric Adams.