NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — On the eve of the Democratic primary election, the candidates for New York City mayor made their their final push.

A new poll shows Eric Adams in the lead, and now two other candidates have formed a strategic alliance.

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“I never had a doubt, not one day, that we were not going to win this. Never doubted it. That’s why I was walking around with this strut,” Adams said Monday.

As CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported, Adams was strutting his stuff, and brushing off the various controversies that have dogged his campaign. But he was unable to sidestep another controversy — the last-minute alliance forged by Andrew Yang and Kathryn Garcia to try and stop him, and use the new ranked choice voting system to their benefit.

In a surprise development, Mayor Bill de Blasio injected himself into the race.

“What I saw as simply an opportunistic move by the candidates,” de Blasio said. “Two people who don’t seem to agree on a whole lot teaming up for their own political needs.”

De Blasio was not the only one critical of the decision of Yang and Garcia to campaign together. Over the weekend, Adams implied it was racist, an attempt at voter suppression. The campaign put out statements from several supporters in the Black and Hispanic communities, blasting the pair for ganging up on Adams.

“Latino and Black New Yorkers did not organize for generations so that they could finally put a working class person of color in Gracie Mansion, just to then have their victory taken away from them by a backroom deal,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.

The latest Ipsos mayoral poll suggests why there is a move to try and stop Adams, and manipulate ranked choice voting. The poll has Adams with 28%, Yang 20%, Garcia 15%, Maya Wiley 13%, Scott Stringer 8%, and undecided 6%.

Yang and Garcia insisted they are not guilty of voter suppression.

“It’s hard to characterize people getting out the vote as anything other than positive,” Yang said. “The last thing New York City needs is a mayor who uses race baiting any time he is criticized.”

“I am all about getting people out to vote,” Garcia said. “I want to make sure we’re all talking to all of our young people. I want every New Yorker out there.”

“It just goes to show you they’re doing everything possible to win for themselves. I’m looking to win for New Yorkers,” Adams said.

It’s unclear what effect the Yang-Garcia alliance will have. Yang is asking his supporters to rank Garcia second. Garcia is not returning the favor.

As CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported, Yang is hoping to spur momentum in his campaign by visiting every borough.

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“It’s crunch time everyone. Everything comes down to what happens in the next 36 hours,” Yang said Monday. “Every waking minute between now and when the polls close tomorrow night we have to knock on doors. We have to get out the vote.”

WEB EXTRA: Explanation Of Ranked Choice Voting

For the first time in a citywide election, ranked choice voting will be used.

“No one is over 50%, so that means we’ll go through the ranked choice process and we will all have to learn something we are not good at as New Yorkers — that’s patience,” said Garcia.

Candidate Maya Wiley said she declined joining Yang and Garcia’s coalition.

“The strategy for me has always been to be Maya Wiley. To tell people what I stand for and what I’ll do. Because really the way people rank should be based on who they want and what they want done,” she said.

READ MORENYC Mayoral Race: Due To Ranked Choice Voting, Winner Of Democratic Primary May Not Be Known For Weeks

More than 191,000 New Yorkers cast their ballots during the nine days of early voting, including an overwhelming majority in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Polls show violence remains a top issue for voters, a concern that hits home for mayoral front-runner Adams. Police are looking for two men wanted for stabbing a campaign volunteer multiple times after a dispute Sunday while canvassing in the Bronx.

“Folks have given a false narrative that we don’t want safety in our community, and we do. We want safety and justice,” Adams said. “We want safety and justice. We don’t have to surrender the safety we deserve for the justice we need.”

Each candidate was out Monday night making their closing argument to voters, as all eyes across the country are closely watching this election that determines how the city comes back.

Polls are open Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

To find your polling location, CLICK HERE.

MORE NEWS: Election Day Guide For Voters In New York

Aundrea Cline-Thomas contributed to this report. 

Marcia Kramer