Betting on the 2021 New York City Mayoral Election

By Jennifer Hassan in Politics
| February 17, 2021 10:31 am PDT
Betting on the Next New York City Mayor

Political betting has become very popular, very quickly. Perhaps it was the overwhelming attention that people around the globe were paying to the 2020 US presidential election, or simply all of the fun prop bets available for the vice-presidential debates. (One example: Will a fly land on anyone’s head?)

Whatever the reason, the ability to bet on political contests has become as exciting—if not more so—than sports betting. Perhaps it is due to the fact that an election has more impact on a community as a whole than a March Madness victory.

The next big political betting opportunity comes with the New York City mayoral election, which will take place in November of 2021.

Here is information on each of the prospective candidates, along with their current odds.

Andrew Yang – Democrat (-115)

Yang is a young (46-year-old) Democrat who lives in Manhattan with his wife and children. An attorney as well as a business startup executive, Yang is known as an intelligent man as well as a visionary.

Yang is the child of Taiwanese immigrants who attended Ivy League colleges and made millions (according to Wall Street Journal and Newsweek estimates).

Yang ticks a number of boxes that will attract voters to his platform:

  • He is a minority whose success embodies the American Dream
  • Yang is a child of immigrants
  • Yang is popular among Internet users
  • Yang received several celebrity endorsements when he made his bid for Democratic presidential candidate in 2020
  • Yang has made keeping Americans employed and solvent when so many are losing jobs to automation a key speaking point, thus appealing to blue-collar voters

As you can see, the sportsbooks have him as the current favorite, with odds of -115. This means that if you bet $115 on Yang winning, and you are correct, you’ll win $100, for a total of $215 deposited into your account.

For more information on reading betting odds, click here.

Eric Adams – Republican (+275)

Already the 18th Borough President of Brooklyn, Adams is an African-American man who worked for the New York transit police before moving into politics.

The fact that Adams has been a member of New York’s close-knit police force could account for a great deal in a mayoral election.

In certain cities, such as Chicago and New York, the policemen’s unions hold a great deal of sway over popular opinion come election time.

Furthermore, Adams’ ethnicity may attract a new contingent of hitherto-lackluster voters to the electoral booths on election day.

Perhaps the largest support to Adams’ bid for the office of Mayor is the fact that he is currently the sole Republican in the running.

Scott Stringer – Democrat (+500)

Mr. Stringer is already the comptroller (government account auditor) for New York City. Before his current position, he was an assemblyman for New York State.

Stringer’s name is already well-known among NYC Democrats.

Stringer’s mother was a well-known New York civil servant. She spent the early 1970s as a district leader for the Democratic Party, and later became the first female City Council member representing Washington Heights.

Equally pertinent to Scott’s run for 2021 Mayor-Elect, Stringer’s father was assistant to the New York City Mayor.

Scott Stringer thus has two points in his favor: he has some familiarity with what the office of mayor entails via his father’s work in the mayor’s office, and his last name will be recognized on the ballot as belonging to an active local political family.

One mark against Stringer is that he looks like a conservative middle-aged Caucasian male.

At a time when voters have expressed a desire for officials who look different than what has come before, and who espouse a variety of alternative lifestyles, Mr. Stringer’s “classic politician” mien may actually work against him at this time of nascent revolution.

Raymond McGuire – Democrat (+800)

Claiming to have a fresh approach to local governance, Ray McGuire wants a “better, fairer New York.”

A former Citigroup executive, Mr. McGuire has both a law degree and an MBA from Harvard. He worked on the Obama campaign and is also associated with the arts community in Harlem.

Mr. McGuire is a man of color, and has emphasized that his campaign would be based on addressing the racial issues that have gained attention in recent events.

Mr. McGuire has already raised significant campaign funding from Wall Street donors.

You may have noticed by now that most of these candidates currently in the running are Democrats. Here is the current breakdown of those who have announced their campaign:

  • Republicans – 12 %
  • Democrats – 88 %

Maya Wiley – Democrat (+1000)

Ms. Wiley has made a career in social justice. She has worked as an attorney for current mayor Bill de Blasio in the role of Counsel to the Mayor.

Wiley has also worked as a legal analyst for major news sources NBS News and MSNBC.

The Shocking Idea of an Affordable New York City

Wiley’s focus at this point in her campaign appears to be making New York affordable enough so that locals can live in a reasonable manner and “with dignity.”

Wiley believes that NYC has suffered from two pandemics: Covid-19 and persistent racial injustice. Although she is a Democrat like de Blasio, Wiley is quick to state that she is not going to follow in his footsteps, but intends to step into the role of mayor as an outsider.

As former Counsel to the Mayor, Wiley already has an intimate understanding of the legal issues the city faces, as well as which groups feel underrepresented.

As a woman of color already associated with the fight for social justice in the city, I am surprised that Wiley’s odds sit at +1000, which will pay bettors 10-to-1 if she wins.

All of the aforementioned candidates have excellent skills and connections in their favor. This will be a significant election, coming soon on the heels of the defeat of Donald Trump and his second presidential campaign.

The Imminent Future vs. the Recent Past

Will the spirit of change carry the day, in which case a female candidate of color with previous experience in the Mayor’s office would have a viable chance of winning?

Or will there be a backlash against the rapid changes already taking place in politics at the national level, such that a more conservative candidate will triumph?

Dianne Morales – Democrat (+3300)

Dianne Morales represents two minority groups within the greater New York Community. She is of African descent via Puerto Rico.

Ms. Morales has worked for the New York City Department of Education, putting her Harvard degree in education to good use, as well as her Columbia degree in Education Administration.

One of Ms. Morales’ primary professional foci has been improving American grade school education.

Kathryn Garcia – Democrat (+3300)

Garcia is the Commissioner of the New York City Sanitation Department, a challenging job in any political environment.

Garcia has also held positions as interim CEO of the New York City Housing Authority and COO of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

Climate change is a subject near and dear to Garcia’s heart, and the one that she addressed most assiduously as Sanitation Commissioner. Here are some of her successful initiatives:

  • Banning the use of single-serving plastic containers
  • Improving the quality of NYC drinking water
  • Launched organics (material that was once alive; think food waste) recycling into compost
  • Created crisis-based food delivery program during COVID equaling 130 million meals

Garcia was born in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and continues to live there to this day.

Shaun Donovan – Democrat (+5000)

This candidate has impeccable government credentials. He has affected policy at federal levels as the former US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, as well as a serving a stint as the Director of the US Office of Management and Budget.

Like Kathryn Garcia, Donovan has a strong connection to housing issues and possible routes for resolution.

Donovan was part of Obama’s cabinet, an appointment confirmed unanimously by the Senate. Furthermore, he had been the Designated Survivor at times when Obama was in situations that could potentially lead to his death.

Note: The Designated Survivor is an individual who stays safe in a secret location so that if the President is killed, the government will have an alternative leader, preventing the total collapse of an administration in case of a crisis.

With three Harvard degrees and time spent in a White House Cabinet post, Donovan seems like a more than reasonable candidate, which makes his +5000 odds feel like low-hanging fruit.

Out of the eight candidates on this list, three received an education at Harvard. Graduating from this historic Massachusetts university holds more weight in the traditional and typically more conservative East Coast states than it does elsewhere, simply because so many political figures on the Eastern Seaboard have been Harvard Alumni.

Interestingly, Harvard has begun a program for all of the nation’s mayors.

  • % of Current NYC Mayoral Candidates that Are Harvard Alumni – 38%
  • Candidates from Other Universities – 62%

Some Final Points to Consider

New York City has never had a female mayor, and this historic city has only had one mayor of color.

Thus, when you place your bet, it is important to ask yourself, “Is New York going to ride the wave of modernism sweeping the nation, or will it be slow to change, and stick to traditions?”

That will help you in your quest to find the best bet.

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