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Here are three questions New York's mayoral primary will answer

First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
Image: Eric Adams, Democratic candidate for New York City Mayor, speaks to supporters during a campaign appearance in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York
Eric Adams, Democratic candidate for New York City Mayor, speaks to supporters during a campaign appearance in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York, June 18, 2021.Eduardo Munoz / Reuters

WASHINGTON — There are three major questions we have about New York City’s crowded Democratic mayoral primary on Tuesday.

One, just how potent is the issue of crime in the city, especially with frontrunner Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams (who’s a former cop) making it a major part of his campaign?

“[A]mid a rise this spring in shootings, jarring episodes of violence on the subways, bias attacks against Asian Americans and Jews — and heavy coverage of crime on local television — virtually every public poll shows public safety has become the biggest concern among Democratic voters,” the New York Times wrote over the weekend.

The Times adds that “defund the police” has been a major fault line in this Democratic primary, with Adams, Kathryn Garcia and Andrew Yang all opposing it, while progressives Maya Wiley, Scott Stringer, Shaun Donovan and Dianne Morales support cutting police budgets and investing that money in communities.

(Interestingly, President Biden will address crime and safety on Wednesday.)

Two, are progressives about to strike out again — after Terry McAuliffe already won the Democratic primary in Virginia’s gubernatorial contest, and after Biden won in 2020?

Of the consensus Top 4 candidates in the race — Adams, Garcia, Yang and Wiley — Wiley is the lone progressive.

And as CNN’s Harry Enten noted, a recent WNBC/Telemundo/Politico/Marist poll had just 19 percent of likely Democratic primary voters in the city identifying themselves as “very liberal,” compared with 36 percent who said they were “liberal,” 32 percent who said they were moderate and 13 percent who said they were conservative.

That ideological makeup could play a big role when it comes to the ranked-choice voting in Tuesday’s contest.

Which brings us to our third and final question: Just how is ranked choice going to play out on Tuesday?

Under New York City’s system, voters get to rank their Top 5 candidates in order of preference. After each round of voting, the candidate with the fewest numbers of votes is eliminated. And New Yorkers who picked that eliminated candidate see their vote transferred to their second choice.

When the WNBC/Telemundo/Politico/Marist poll simulated 12 rounds of voting — with the eliminated candidate’s votes getting redistributed by second choice — it found at the end Adams at 56 percent and Garcia at 44 percent.

And because of the ranked-choice voting, plus absentee ballots, we might not get an official winner until next month.

Bernie Sanders draws red line on bipartisan infrastructure deal

On “Meet the Press” yesterday, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said he wouldn’t support indexing the gas tax or instituting a fee on electric vehicles to pay for the bipartisan infrastructure deal that’s supported by 21 senators, including 11 Republicans.

“One of the concerns that I do have about the bipartisan bill is how they are going to pay for their proposals, and they're not clear yet. I don't know that they even know yet, but some of the speculation is raising a gas tax, which I don't support, a fee on electric vehicles, privatization of infrastructure. Those are proposals that I would not support,” Sanders said, per NBC’s Ben Kamisar.

And Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio — one of the 11 GOP senators supporting the bipartisan deal — acknowledged that red line by Democrats.

Portman: "Well, the administration has said that is out for them. We don't have a gas tax per se. It is going forward, indexing the gas tax to inflation. It’s been the same since 1993. So the group does support that, but we understand that the administration has very strong views on that, so it's a — it's a user fee. We also think that the user fee on electric vehicles is appropriate. Shouldn't electric vehicles or hybrid vehicles pay their fair share in terms of our infrastructure needs, roads and bridges? So, I think there's some discussion left on those topics."

Asked if that meant it may end up not being in the final package, Portman said, "Well, it may not, but the administration, therefore, will need to come forward with some other ideas without raising taxes."

Bottom line: Progressives and the Biden White House have made clear that indexing the gas tax and user fees for electric vehicles are non-starters. And GOP senators realize that.

Which means they’re going to have to find out other ways to pay for it.

An infrastructure deal seems as close as ever, but it’s still not a done deal yet.

Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

Up to 10,000: The maximum number of spectators that will be allowed at events at this summer's Tokyo Games, under newly announced limits.

33,688,924: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 23,694 more than Friday morning.)

605,343: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far, per the most recent data from NBC News. (That’s 576 more than Friday morning.)

317,966,408: The number of vaccine doses administered in the U.S.

41.5 percent: The share of all Americans who are fully vaccinated, per NBC News.

55.8 percent: The share of all American adults over 18 who are fully vaccinated, per CDC.

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