April 29, 2021 By Ryan Songalia
State Sen. Jessica Ramos was among the first to endorse Scott Stringer when he announced his candidacy last year for Mayor of New York City.
On Wednesday she became the first to withdraw her support, rescinding her endorsement just hours after Jean Kim, a political consultant, accused him of sexually assaulting her 20 years ago.
Stringer vigorously denies the allegation.
“Jean Kim bravely came forward today to share her truth, and it is our duty to listen and investigate fully,” Ramos said in a statement she tweeted yesterday.
“This kind of behavior is unacceptable in any workplace and those who have perpetrated such acts must be held accountable for their actions, not given bigger platforms.”
Kim, speaking with reporters outside City Hall on Wednesday afternoon, said that Stringer had “repeatedly groped” her, kissed her against her will and demanded sex while she worked as an unpaid intern on his unsuccessful campaign for public advocate in 2001.
Ramos, who has called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign over sexual harassment allegations, said Stringer was no longer suitable for the job.
“After the year New Yorkers have had, we need a leader who can rise to meet the moment and will not be distracted by scandals as our city continues to make its way towards recovery,” Ramos said.
Stringer, who has been a Ramos ally for years, vehemently denied the accusations, saying that the relationship he had with Kim had been consensual and it was when she was 30 years of age and he 41. He says that while he supports Kim’s right to be heard, “This isn’t me. I didn’t do this.”
Ramos had been among Stringer’s most visible supporters.
The two had organized a number of press conferences together, with the most recent one being two weeks ago in Corona in support of street vendors. In September they collaborated on an open letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio calling for the city’s Open Streets program to be made permanent.
Stringer also had backed her in the past. Stringer endorsed her when she successfully ran against Jose Peralta, a member of the Independent Democratic Conference, in 2018.
After hearing Ms. Kim’s account today, I am officially rescinding my endorsement of Scott Stringer for Mayor of New York City.
See my full statement here: pic.twitter.com/UXgm9Bp49d
— Jessica Ramos (@jessicaramos) April 28, 2021
Stringer’s campaign has received the backing of many Queens officials, such as Assemblymembers Catalina Cruz and Nily Rozic, as well as Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer. They have yet to issue a statement since Kim’s disclosure.
But some Stringer supporters who are in other boroughs have issued statements—although none have withdrawn their support.
State Senators Alessandra Biaggi and Julia Salazar, as well as Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, issued a joint statement that stopped short of rescinding their endorsements.
“We always hold space for anyone to safely come forward to share their experiences, and will demand accountability accordingly,” the joint statement reads. The three state legislators are viewed by many as rising stars in New York’s progressive wing.
A number of candidates seeking office in Queens also weighed in on the issue.
Hailie Kim, who is running for City Council in the 26th District, said that Stringer should resign as Comptroller and leave the race.
“Jean Kim today bravely came forward sharing an excruciating secret she should have never been burdened with,” said Kim, who is not related to Jean Kim.
John Choe, a candidate for City Council in District 20, attested to the integrity of Jean Kim, whom he says he’s known since 2002, calling her a “person of integrity and principle.” Like Hailie Kim, he too called on Stringer to suspend his campaign and resign from office.
“Scott knows full well that a ‘consensual relationship’ between a candidate and a campaign worker, paid or otherwise, is impossible given the inherently unequal power dynamics. The use of this phrase by politicians to justify abusive behavior must be condemned,” Choe said.
Stringer was in third place in the latest NY1/Ipsos poll of Democratic primary voters, behind businessman Andrew Yang and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.