“Andrew, your approach is naïve,” Mr. Stringer replied. “This is not how Albany works, Albany will go after you. Albany will collapse you if you don’t understand that the forces around the state do not want us to get the funding that we deserve.”
Mr. Stringer has cast himself as a seasoned government hand with a slate of progressive policies. His ability to engage younger left-wing voters, though, was hampered after a woman earlier this spring accused him of making unwanted sexual advances during a 2001 campaign, allegations he denied.
Last week, a second woman accused Mr. Stringer of making unwanted sexual advances when, she said, she worked at a bar he co-owned decades ago. Mr. Stringer said he did not recall Teresa Logan, the woman making the allegations, but said he apologized if he had met her and made her uncomfortable.
“I want to be held accountable to anyone who wishes, the press or otherwise, to investigate what took place 30 years ago and 20 years ago,” he said. “Unfortunately, in the middle of a campaign, it has been a struggle to find a way to communicate that. Now it’s up to the voters to look at my 30-year record of service and personal history and make a decision as to who’s best qualified for mayor.”
“It takes two to view any sexual conduct as welcome,” Ms. Wiley interjected. Mr. Stringer said he agreed.
Ms. Wiley is seeking to emerge as the standard-bearer for the left wing of the Democratic Party, part of her effort to build a coalition that includes voters of color from across the ideological spectrum as well as white progressives.
Over the last week, prominent progressive lawmakers and leaders have made a major push to consolidate around her campaign: Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez backed her last weekend; Jumaane D. Williams, the New York City public advocate, did the same on Wednesday.
Dianne Morales, a former nonprofit executive, had also been battling for support from the left-wing grass-roots, but amid a campaign uprising and fight over unionizing efforts, she terminated dozens of workers this week, according to the union. She was not invited to participate in Thursday’s debate, nor were two other candidates who have participated in prior debates: Shaun Donovan, the former federal housing secretary, and Raymond J. McGuire, a former Citi executive.
Natalie Prieb contributed reporting.