For decades, New York City’s Columbus Day Parade has been a must-stop destination for politicians and aspiring politicians — so much so that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s decision to skip it in 2002 made headlines for days.
This year’s gathering, even taking into account the growing controversy surrounding the holiday, seemed to be no different: Mayor Bill de Blasio showed up and sustained a number of taunts. Gov. Kathy Hochul and some potential rivals were in attendance. Curtis Sliwa, the long-awaited Republican mayoral candidate, also made his way along the Manhattan route.
But Eric Adams, the Democratic candidate for mayor of New York City and the president of the Brooklyn borough, did not attend the parade Monday. His whereabouts were unclear: Mr. Adams did not release a public schedule that day.
Indeed, Mr. Adams, who secured the Democratic mayoral nomination in July and will almost certainly win next month’s general election, has been a relatively rare presence on the campaign trail in recent weeks.
To his allies, Mr. Adams developed a demeanor that has allowed him to focus on fundraising, preparing for the board and cementing the vital relationships he will need in his office. But it also boils down to a cautious approach that reduces the risk of an unpolitical remark and limits media scrutiny from the man who is on track to take one of the most powerful positions in the country.
On Tuesday, three weeks after Election Day, Mr. Adams’ October campaign had released no more than five public schedules, with a few more government-related opinions from his borough chairman’s office. He didn’t announce any campaign events this weekend; the only advertised stop was a visit to the Federation of Italian-American Organizations of Brooklyn, in its government position.
In contrast, a review of most of Mr. De Blasio’s public campaign schedules from early October 2013 — during New York’s last open-seat mayoral race — shows that while he barely stormed the five boroughs every day, he had a near-daily public run. program of events as he rolled out notes, marched in parades and delivered speeches.
“Regardless of the likely outcome, it never hurts to ask voters for their support, collect your numbers, and go to City Hall with a strong mandate,” said Monica Klein, a political strategist who has worked on many Democratic campaigns, including for Mr de Blasio. “You don’t want to win by default, even when you’re up against a guy with 16 cats.”
Mr. Adams and his team strongly reject any suggestion that he is pursuing anything less than a hectic schedule — even if they don’t always broadcast his events. Indeed, Mr. Adams, who has long been prominent in his hometown of Brooklyn, has often appeared at community and political rallies across the city in performances his campaign did not advertise.
He recently claimed in an interview with NY1 that he participates in 13 events a day and is recruiting until 1am. — a mix of government and campaign activities — which he claimed to have attended since Labor Day. The list, the campaign said, did not include events Mr. Adams attended with volunteers and voters, or extensive media interviews.
When asked how Mr. Adams spent his day on Monday, Mr. Thies said he was organizing with volunteers.
“Eric works hard from early in the morning until very late at night,” Mr Thies said, meeting with voters and volunteers, “and organizing events to ensure that the working people who support him win on Election Day.”
“He also spends a lot of time preparing to become mayor, should he be successful on Nov. 2, by meeting with government leaders, nonprofits and business leaders to ensure he is ready to lead New York,” added Mr. Thies ready for it.
But while officials and candidates seeking office usually disseminate their daily schedules in media advisories, Mr. Adams’ campaign or government office did not publicize a notable number of events that Mr. Thies referred to.
The opaque nature of how Mr. Adams spends his time makes it difficult to gauge the full extent of his involvement in the mayoral race — but he doesn’t seem to have traveled the path every day in the race’s final month.
It also raises the question of how transparent Mr. Adams will be about his activities if he becomes mayor. (Mr. Adams has already faced other questions about details of his schedule: His team declined to say where he was vacationing this summer, and he faced significant checks over his residency.)
Mr. Thies did not immediately respond to a question about the kind of commitments Mr. Adams was willing to make regarding the public programs he will release if he wins.
“We don’t always recommend campaign events and appearances, as hosts and participants prefer not to, and often campaign strategy is discussed,” said Mr Thies of the current race. “But Eric believes it is very important that members of the media have regular access to him to ask questions on behalf of the public, which is why he regularly holds press conferences and daily interviews with individual reporters.”
Mr. Adams was on the campaign trail Tuesday, visiting a city ranch to discuss how underserved New Yorkers can get better access to nutritious food and preventive health care. He has also pointed to policy proposals around issues of public safety, boosting the economy and housing, and his team and other allies emphasize that he is very focused on the transition.
“I’m sure he’s in the process of forming his government and putting all the pieces together to get started,” said state senator John C. Liu, who attended a meeting for Mr. Adams last week.
There are signs that Mr. Adams’s public schedule is beginning to accelerate, announcing performances on both Tuesday and Wednesday. He also uses his sizable war chest to broadcast campaign ads.
New York City’s strongly Democratic leaning — it’s even more Democratic now than when Mr. De Blasio first ran for mayor — means virtually no political pundit in the city views the race as competitive, and many Democrats are optimistic. about Mr. Adams’ apparent style of public campaigning.
In part, that’s because many see Mr. Sliwa as a far less credible opponent than Joseph J. Lhota, the 2013 Republican rival of Mr. de Blasio who was chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and Mr. de Blasio won that race. still with almost 50 points. percentage points.
“Curtis Sliwa is not a serious person,” said Bill Hyers, Mr De Blasio’s 2013 campaign manager. “It’s not really a race anymore. It’s all about the transition to governance.”
Fernando Ferrer, the 2005 Democratic nominee, added to Mr Adams: “He’s doing exactly what he should be doing now: he’s tying his coalition together and solidifying it, he’s done raising money, he’s holding up support.” his place. Focus on a campaign with Curtis Sliwa of all people? Excuse me.”
Mr Adams will have the opportunity to do so: two general election debates are scheduled, the first on October 20, three days before the start of the early vote.
Certainly, there have been occasional clashes between the candidates: Mr. Adams has called Mr. Sliwa, who has admitted to fabricating crime-fighting incidents, a “racist” who engages in “antics”; mr. sliwa hectors mr. Adams often.
In a brief phone call, Mr. Sliwa, who has published a public event schedule almost every day this month, described Mr. Adams as “MIA, he’s invisible.”
“It’s a big difference from when he was out in the primaries,” he added.
Mr Sliwa also defended his own electoral prospects.
“Normally they think Republicans say, ‘Oh, they’re going to face Wall Street, Fortune 500, hedge fund monsters,'” Sliwa said, suggesting he was a different kind of Republican. “It will come as a surprise to all of them because I have support in places where Republicans generally don’t have support.”
In some ways, Mr. Adams’ approach isn’t all that different from President Biden’s campaign in the final weeks of the presidential contest as the pandemic raged last fall.
“It’s like the Rose Garden strategy the president would have, it’s the same approach,” said Mr Lhota, who is now a Democrat. “Someone with a substantial lead doesn’t have to do that many events, doesn’t have to announce their name that often.”
Michael M. Grynbaum, Luis Ferré-Sadurní, Dana Rubinstein and Tracey Tully reported.