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N.Y.C. Mayor’s Race Tightens Ahead of Crucial In-Person Debate

“Think about all of the favors that Eric had to trade to get to this point, climbing the ladder over this last number of years, scheming about his run, thinking, ‘Oh, this is going to be my big chance,’” Mr. Yang said, speaking at his campaign office in Bensonhurst. “Eric: Your moment has passed.”

The broadsides showcased the deepening rivalries and sharply divergent visions for how to lead the city forward, with the crowded field of candidates differing over ideology and the question of what qualifications matter to become mayor.

The last debate was defined by public safety more than any other issue, with candidates battling over whether to add more police to the subways, and Ms. Wiley and Mr. Adams tangling over his record on the policing tactic of stop-and-frisk. Amid a spike in shootings, a spate of anti-Asian and anti-Semitic attacks and clear differences between the candidates on issues of police funding and how to reduce violence, matters of crime and justice may take center stage again on Wednesday.

Mr. Yang, Mr. Adams, Ms. Garcia and Raymond J. McGuire, a former Citi executive, are considered to be relative moderates in the liberal field, especially on issues of public safety and dealings with the business community.

Ms. Wiley, Scott M. Stringer, the city comptroller, and Dianne Morales, a former nonprofit executive, have competed with each other to emerge as the left-wing standard-bearer in the race, supporting, by varying amounts, sweeping cuts to the Police Department’s budget and staking out a range of other left-wing positions. The former housing secretary Shaun Donovan has also taken several deeply progressive positions while maintaining close ties to the Democratic Party establishment, but has yet to emerge as a favorite of either the donor class or the activist left.

The battle for the left has grown increasingly muddled over the last month or so. Mr. Stringer had gained significant traction with key left-wing leaders and organizations, but an allegation of unwanted sexual advances tied to a 2001 campaign, which he has firmly denied, sapped that momentum, though he remains well-funded and maintains the backing of other vital supporters, including some in the labor movement.

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