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Guardian Angels founder Sliwa one of two Republicans in NYC mayor primary, with crime top issue

Crime is up roughly 22% in NYC, compared to this time last year.

Updated: June 23, 2021 - 8:02am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

The top GOP candidate in Tuesday's closely watched New York City mayoral primary is Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa –whose decades-long, get-tough-on-crime platform appears to be getting little traction with crime-worried voters in the largely liberal city. 

Sliwa started what eventually became the red-beret wearing Angles brigade in 1977, in an effort to rid the city's subway system of crime. 

Now, despite crime being up roughly 22% in NYC, compared to this time last year, Sliwa is still far behind in the polls – in a so-called "ranked-choice" election in which the top four candidates, regardless of party, advance. (Shootings are up 73% over the same period, according to recent New York Police Department statistic.)

The 67-year Sliwa is running on "refunding the police" platform that includes calling for 5,000 more police officers to protect residents in the city's five boroughs, according to The New York Times

Democratic candidates lead the field with former New York City Police Department Capt. Eric Adams in the lead with former 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang and former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia running close seconds. 

The other GOP candidate is Tuesday's race in Fernando Mateo, a local restaurateur who's also focused on crime, including overturning bail reform and starting a program, Alpha Tracker,  that attempts to keep students out of trouble by giving them jobs. 

The city's last GOP mayors were Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg, now a Democrat.