NEW YORK — The mayor’s race has a frontrunner.

Andrew Yang is making a splash. A key sign: he's under attack.

“Perhaps Mr. Yang wouldn’t have said what he said if he stayed in New York last spring and seen an entire city of teachers make the best of the worst to teach our kids,” City Comptroller Scott Stringer said during a speech to the Association for a Better New York on Friday morning.

What You Need To Know

  • In an interview this week, Andrew Yang suggested the teachers' union was to blame for slow school reopenings

  • Almost immediately, his rivals piled on

  • The teachers’ union is one of the most coveted endorsements of the mayor's race

Stringer, also a Democratic candidate for mayor, was unveiling his education plan on Friday and used the speech to also lay into Yang. He scolded Yang for an interview this week, where he suggested the teachers’ union is partially to blame for a slow school reopening.

Stringer didn’t stop there.

“This is par for the course for Mr. Yang,” Stringer said. “Whether it's an illegal casino on Governor's Island, housing for Tik Tok stars, or being baffled by parents who live and work in two-bedroom apartments with kids in virtual schools. We don’t need another leader who tweets first and thinks later.”

Stringer, of course, is competing for the union’s endorsement, as are many of the other candidates for mayor, including Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, who was campaigning with livery drivers in Upper Manhattan on Friday morning.

“You point fingers at those educators who are traumatized and you ignore the fact of what they have gone through when you were not here for some difficult times for New Yorkers,” Adams said.

Maya Wiley also piled on: “It’s not time to blame our teachers for anything.”

Yang is seen as an outsider to New York City politics. He was collecting petition signatures in the Bronx on Friday and asked a voter the official name of the county.

“I'm confused because there is New York, which is Manhattan, but you can use either one. I don’t know what that’s about,” Yang asked her.

She replied, "Kings County is Brooklyn. Richmond County is Staten Island.”

Yang has been somewhat gaffe-prone on the campaign trail, mixing up policies and politicians in the city. That’s something often mocked in the rough and tumble world of New York City politics.

He did not take any questions from NY1 on Friday on the spat with the teachers’ union.

We did receive a statement from the head of the union, Michael Mulgrew.

He said: "Thanks to his limited knowledge of education and government, along with the ideological partisanship of his advisers, Andrew Yang suffers from a profound misunderstanding of the importance of our public schools and the role of teachers and their union. The members of the UFT devote their professional lives to educating people, and it is clear that Mr. Yang has a great deal to learn."


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