Ms. Wiley, one of the more left-leaning candidates in the race, said she had heard from Mr. Jeffries on Friday night, adding that he, along with Ms. Clarke and Ms. Velázquez, were “leaders whose constituents trust them, respect them, and they move votes.”
“To have Hakeem Jeffries standing up with me saying, ‘This is my candidate,’ is hugely impactful in a critically important part of this city to win for anyone who wants to be mayor of New York City,” she added.
In the June primary, New Yorkers will be able to rank up to five mayoral candidates, and Mr. Jeffries indicated that he might reveal other rankings of his choices for mayor but said he had not yet reached a decision on how he would proceed.
In the interview, he sketched out a detailed map of what he saw as Ms. Wiley’s path to victory, though certainly, with a crowded field of candidates, there is significant competition for every major political constituency in New York.
“I expect that Eric Adams and Maya Wiley will perform the best in the communities of central Brooklyn, as well as in other traditionally African-American neighborhoods throughout the city of New York,” Mr. Jeffries said, going on to note Ms. Wiley’s potential in “both traditionally African-American communities” and parts of the city that are home to many white liberals, mentioning neighborhoods like Chelsea, in Manhattan, and progressive Brooklyn enclaves.
“That’s a pretty powerful electoral pathway, if the campaign can continue to put it together over the next few weeks,” he said.
Some rival Democrats have feared the prospect of a late surge from Ms. Wiley, and the coming weeks will test her ability to execute on that possibility.