Metro

Adams’ circle against Rivera becoming speaker, cites socialist past

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Members of Mayor-elect Eric Adams’ inner circle are quietly running a campaign to block Carlina Rivera from becoming the next speaker of the City Council because she’s a former dues-paying socialist who voted to defund the NYPD.

Adams is trying to stay out of the crowded field of eight candidates, but his allies, including top aide Ingrid Lewis-Martin are spreading the word that he’d support anyone except Councilwoman Rivera, a Democrat who represents the Lower East Side and surrounding neighborhoods.

“Eric Adams doesn’t want the intra-party fight to mar the first six months while he’s trying to get New York back on track and Carlina is definitely the speaker candidate who presents the greatest opposition to Eric’s agenda,” a pro-Adams labor source told The Post.

Adams, a retired NYPD captain, ran for mayor on a unique platform that blended a message of back the blue but also demand better from police.

Carlina Rivera speaks at rally.
“Carlina is definitely the speaker candidate who presents the greatest opposition to Eric’s agenda,” a pro-Adams labor source told The Post.
LightRocket via Getty Images

Rivera, who’s mother is a civilian NYPD employee, still voted to slash $1 billion from the NYPD’s budget in the wake of protests sparked by George Floyd’s death in 2020. By the time the demonstrations had quieted this year, Rivera approved a $200 million boost back to the agency’s budget.  

“One of big issues she has is, number one she voted against the budget two years ago and then voted for it this year so it makes her look like, ‘What’s going on with you?’” an Adams insider told The Post.

Rivera’s mentor, US Rep. Nydia Velazquez, is also a longtime nemesis of Adams. At a closed-door meeting with New York’s congressional Democrats over the summer Velazquez warned Adams not to attack the city’s members after he said he was running for mayor against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s socialist “movement.”

Rivera courted the Democratic Socialists of America for her 2017 council bid. Now that she’s running for speaker to lead the 51-member council, she’s tried to downplay her DSA ties claiming she only attended the group’s meetings because she has an open mind.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez speaks at event at US Climate Action Center.
In July Eric Adams insisted that a campaign speech in which he blasted left-wing politics wasn’t aimed specifically at Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but the “philosophies” that he opposes.
AP / Alastair Grant

“She wakes up one day and she’s DSA and the next day she isn’t,” said another Adams backer about the anti-Rivera campaign.

“She seems to be making these decisions based on what’s politically convenient. So it’s definitely a concern as to what her priorities would be,” the source said.

Eric Soufer, a political consultant with Tusk Strategies who is unaffiliated with any of the candidates, said, “No one is going to become speaker without Eric Adams’ support.”

City Council members will hold an internal vote in early January to elect their next speaker, but the outcome is often pre-determined by behind-the-scenes political jockeying from political leaders, labor and other groups.

Next year, with a majority of incoming freshmen and a brand new mayor, Adams will have a lot of sway in the speaker election.

Rep. Nydia Velazquez
Rivera’s mentor, Rep. Nydia Velazquez, had reportedly warned Adams’ not to attack members of the city’s congressional delegation and instead present a united front.
Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

“You have people who are trying to build their political capital in the city and in the council and the first rule so politics when you win a seat is, ‘Do no harm,’” Soufer said.

“And there’s probably the greatest harm you could do to yourself is alienating the new mayor who’s going to be setting agenda and calling shots for most like y the next eight years,” Soufer said.

He added that even outside Adams’ influence, it’s unclear that Rivera would have the backing of enough members to win the speakership.

Other candidates include council members who are more politically aligned with Adams including Justin Brannan of Brooklyn, Francisco Moya of Queens, Keith Powers of Manhattan and Diana Ayala of The Bronx.

A spokeswoman for Rivera said defended her boss’s candidacy. “Carlina is picking up momentum, so it’s no surprise her opponents are trying to distort her record as their chances fade,” the rep said.

A rep for Adams declined to comment.

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