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For One Reporter, the Campaign Trail Kept Going

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Katie Glueck, the chief Metro political correspondent for The New York Times, is used to juggling multiple deadlines in one day. That can simply be part of the job when you cover more than a dozen major candidates in New York City’s Democratic primary for mayor, which was called in favor of Eric L. Adams on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press.

But Ms. Glueck is no stranger to elections. Before this race, she was the lead reporter covering Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s presidential campaign, an 18-month marathon. (She switched to her Metro assignment in January.) Ms. Glueck recently discussed how covering the mayoral race stacks up against covering a presidential election — and how she manages to stay on top of the news when she isn’t breaking it herself.

How does covering a mayoral race compare with covering a presidential one?

Covering a presidential campaign, in nonpandemic circumstances, involves far-flung travel. But New York is incredibly diverse, so with the mayoral campaign, I’m also reporting from all kinds of different places, even if the geographic area is smaller. Also, when you’re covering the mayor’s race, you often get more access to the candidates. As I recall, Mr. Biden was willing to help voters stay in touch with him and his team, and happily hopped on the phone with a given voter’s relative — but unlike the mayoral candidates, he was less likely to jump on his cellphone to chat with the reporters covering him, though we tried to talk with him every chance we got.

Which race were people more passionate about?

The presidential one, initially. Especially in the Democratic primary, when the focus was on who could defeat Donald Trump. With the mayor’s race, it understandably took some voters longer to engage with a race that began amid the throes of the pandemic — but those who did, often did so because they realized just how incredibly consequential the contest was for the future of the city.

What challenges did the pandemic present for your reporting?

The mayor’s race, for many months, was conducted largely over Zoom, which, at first, made it more difficult to understand what messages most resonated with the electorate. Luckily, the mayor’s race took on more of the feeling of a traditional race toward the end, when the candidates were out more consistently and we could see them engaging more frequently with voters.

Why did you become a political reporter?

I love covering American politics, whether it’s talking with voters about what motivates them, or capturing how political figures — often with larger-than-life personalities — are battling to win them over. It’s a real privilege to try to assess the mood of the country or the city, whether on a presidential or mayoral level. Both kinds of races have major implications for the daily lives of Americans, and we take the responsibility of trying to get the story right very seriously. On a lighter note, New York politics is raucous, unpredictable and so much fun. At the presidential level, you get to see different parts of the country and meet fascinating political characters — and consult with your colleagues on must-visit restaurants wherever you’ve landed.

How do you keep up with all the news on the campaign trail?

Of course, I read what my colleagues are writing, as well as what our competitors are up to, a little bit nervously. Watching NY1 is vital at the city level. And I spend some time on Twitter — I’m not even the most prolific tweeter, I’m just watching!

You’ve published more than 600articles over the past two years, according to The New York Times’s archives. Are you able to take days off?

It’s a seven-days-a-week kind of job during campaign season, in both cases. During campaigns, the candidates want to be out talking to voters, and they often need to do that on Saturdays. You don’t get a lot of sleep — my coffee habit has been a serious addiction since I was a teenager, and it has only intensified in the years since. Evvel the primary is over, I’m hoping to escape for a quick vacation. After covering the presidential campaign, I have lots of Marriott points to use!

Anywhere specific in mind?

My husband and I took a couple of very cold road trips last year: We went to Maine in November, which was beautiful, if freezing, and to a very cold beach in December. I’m hoping after this primary I can go to a beach when it’s warm.

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