New York City mayoral candidate Scott Stringer, currently hit by sexual harassment accusations, went to churches in Brooklyn on Sunday, vowing to carry on with his campaign after losing most of his high-profile supporters amid the row.
“In the midst of a crisis, when you feel you’re being knocked down, you come to the church. I’ve had some knock-down this week myself. But what’s really important is how you get up and solve the problem,” Stringer said at Evening Star Baptist Church in Bedford-Stuyvesant. “No one’s knocking me down. I’m going to stand straight up. I’m going to make my case. I’m going to make sure that people hear what I have to say,” he added.
Jean Kim, a former campaign volunteer, accused Stringer of groping and kissing her when he ran for New York City public advocate 20 years ago. He denies the charges.
Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), City Council Members Mark Levine and Diana Ayala, Assemblymember Carmen De La Rosa (D-Manhattan), and state Sen. José Serrano (D-Bronx) were among the new endorsers to withdraw their endorsement on Saturday night. On Saturday, a consortium of Muslim organizations that supported Stringer last Sunday rescinded their support.
The Working Families Party and a slew of young progressive legislators whose endorsements were critical to Stringer’s campaign — Senators Alessandra Biaggi (D-Westchester), Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx), and Julia Salazar (D-Brooklyn), Assembly members Yuh-Line Niou (D-Manhattan) and Catalina Cruz (D-Queens), and Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) – also withdrew their support.
“You lose some old friends, you’ve got to make new friends,” Stringer told reporters on Sunday. “So I’m out campaigning and running for mayor.” When asked who those new friends would be, he said, “We’ll see on Election Day.” The primary is scheduled for June 22. Stringer unsuccessfully tried to keep his supporters on board, but he
publicly rejected their decision to withdraw their support.
“I made my statements. People have to make decisions,” he said. “Now I have to go out and campaign. I have to be on television. I have to be out on the streets. I have a very big schedule, and we’re doing what we can. But I’m very optimistic. I fully expect to be the next mayor of New York.” In an interview that aired on WABC’s “Up Close with Bill Ritter” on Sunday, he reiterated his denials.
“I want to say, without any hesitation, a total, absolute, categorical denial of every one of these allegations,” he said, adding: “This is not how I talk. This is not how I act.”