FILE - NY Eric Adams, Andrew Cuomo 7-14-2021

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams (left) and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speak at a news conference July 14, 2021, in Brooklyn.

(The Center Square) – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a news conference Wednesday with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, the Democratic nominee in the New York City mayoral election, to discuss the city’s crime issue and how they would work together on the matter.

The Democratic governor made it clear in the 40-minute event at the Lenox Road Baptist Church in Brooklyn that he would likely have a better relationship with Adams, the heavy favorite to win in November, than with Mayor Bill De Blasio, the outgoing incumbent. That’s because, Cuomo said, he and Adams share the same philosophy on government.

“We are progressive Democrats, and we have the same definition of what it means to be a progressive Democrat,” Cuomo said.

Despite the plaudits Cuomo heaped upon Adams, the former New York City police officer and state senator still tried to distance himself from the three-term governor, who may face an uphill challenge for reelection next year.

During the Democratic mayoral primary debates, Adams had indicated he would not accept the endorsement of Cuomo, who faces numerous investigations and an impeachment inquiry. In response to a reporter’s question about Cuomo’s controversies, he said the investigations need to continue.

“First of all, I didn't get an endorsement today,” Adams said. “The governor said that he would work with me, and I'm sure he would have worked with any mayor that is in office.”

Violent crime has been a major issue in New York City, especially over the past year. Through June, the NYPD says murders are up nearly 11% and felonious assaults are up 6.7%.

Cuomo has called on the city to address the issue, saying it's paramount to spurring an economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic. People will not return to the city to live or work if they don’t feel safe.

Republicans have criticized Cuomo and other Democrats for causing the spike in crimes through legislation that reformed the justice system. That includes a law that did away with setting bail for people facing most misdemeanors and nonviolent charges.

New York Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy, in a statement Wednesday, accused Cuomo and Adams of trying to obfuscate their guilt in the increase in crime.

“Eric Adams was right about one thing when he said, ‘we’ve normalized violence in our city,’" Langworthy said. "Democrats have spent the last two and a half years deflecting, lying and calling Republicans hysterical for sounding the alarm about growing crime and quality of life problems that have gripped our communities. They ignored the warnings of prosecutors and lifelong law enforcement officials who predicted exactly what would happen with the elimination of bail and rammed it through anyway, while decrying any criticism as racism." 

Adams told reporters the reforms he supports can still work and called them quality of life issues. He recalled his childhood and admitted he'd jump the subway turnstiles if he couldn't afford the fare. Poverty, he added, should not be criminalized.

“If you steal an apple, you should not be in jail. … Jail should be for violent criminals, not for people who did not get the opportunities they deserve,” he said.

Adams will face Republican nominee Curtis Sliwa in the Nov. 2 election.