As predicted by the polls, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio was elected New York City’s first Democratic mayor in two decades on Tuesday, November 5th, defeating former MTA Chairman Joe Lhota with 73.38% of the vote, as opposed to 24.23% for Lhota.
According to a Huffington Post report, de Blasio ran on an unabashedly liberal, tax-the-rich platform that contrasted sharply with billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s record during 12 years in office.
De Blasio, 52, will take office on Jan. 1 as the 109th mayor of the nation’s largest city.
He ran as the anti-Bloomberg, railing against economic inequality and portraying New York as a “tale of two cities” — one rich, the other working class — under the pro-business, pro-development mayor, who made his fortune from the financial information company that bears his name, according to published reports.
“Today you spoke loudly and clearly for a new direction for our city,” de Blasio told a rollicking crowd of supporters at the YMCA in his home neighborhood of Park Slope, Brooklyn, a far cry from the glitzy Manhattan hotel ballrooms that usually host election night parties.
“We are united in the belief that our city should leave no New Yorker behind,” he said. “The people of this city have chosen a progressive path, and tonight we set forth on it together as one city.”
De Blasio, who held a commanding lead in the polls throughout the campaign, reached out to New Yorkers he contended were left behind by the often Manhattan-centric Bloomberg administration, and he called for a tax increase on the wealthy to pay for universal pre-kindergarten. He also pledged to improve economic opportunities in minority and working-class neighborhoods.
He decried alleged abuses under the police department’s stop-and-frisk policy and enjoyed a surge when a federal judge ruled that police had unfairly singled out blacks and Hispanics. The candidate, a white man married to a black woman, also received a boost from a campaign ad featuring their son, a 15-year-old with a big Afro.
Despite his reputation for idealism, he has also shown a pragmatic side, having worked for both Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and was known for closed-door wheeling-and-dealing while serving on the City Council.
de Blasio’s margin of victory surpasses Abe Beame’s 40-point win in 1973 as the largest by a non-incumbent since five-borough elections began in 1897.
Lhota called de Blasio to concede about half an hour after polls closed at 9 p.m, according to a spokeswoman for the Democratic candidate.
“It was a good fight and it was a fight worth having,” Lhota told a crowd of supporters in a Manhattan hotel before offering a word of caution to de Blasio.
“Despite what you might have heard, we are all one city,” Lhota said. “We want our city to move forward and not backward, and I hope our mayor-elect understands that before it’s too late.”
Lhota, 59, spent much of the campaign slamming de Blasio’s “tale of two cities” appeal as class warfare and argued that de Blasio’s time in the 1980s with the left-wing Sandinistas in Nicaragua as an aid worker and activist made him a Marxist.
Lhota also credited stop-and-frisk with contributing to the city’s drop in crime. He charged that a Blasio victory would return the city to its crime-filled past, a point he made with a TV ad that depicted graphic images of violence from decades ago.
Though polling shows New Yorkers largely approve of Bloomberg’s policies, those same surveys revealed the city was hungry for a change.
While registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in the city 6 to 1, the last time a Democrat was elected mayor was 1989, when David Dinkins, de Blasio’s former boss, was victorious.
Lhota, a onetime deputy mayor to Rudolph Giuliani, announced his mayoral bid on a surge of acclaim for his leadership of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority during last year’s Superstorm Sandy. But his campaign struggled out of the gate, and he was slow to raise money.
De Blasio was an afterthought for much of the crowded Democratic primary, spending most of the year in a distant fourth, trailing City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, former Rep. Anthony Weiner and the Democrats’ 2009 nominee, Bill Thompson.
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo said Democrat Bill de Blasio’s election as New York City’s next mayor is “an exciting new chapter.”
In a statement following Tuesday’s election, Cuomo said it was “particularly gratifying” to see de Blasio win. He called de Blasio “a true friend and said de Blasio has “a compelling vision” for the city’s future.
Kenneth Thompson was elected district attorney in Brooklyn, defeating longtime incumbent Charles J. Hynes, who refused to accept defeat after a bruising Democratic primary. With 58 percent of precincts reporting Tuesday, Thompson was leading with 72 percent of the vote.
Thompson, 48, will be the borough’s first African-American district attorney. He beat Hynes during the Democratic primary in September, the first time in a century a sitting district attorney was ousted.
Councilwoman Letitia James, a Brooklyn Democrat, made history Tuesday evening, becoming the first black woman to be elected to citywide office in New York. “Yes, this is indeed historic, because our government must be representative of all New Yorkers,” she said in her victory speech. But, she said, “what I’m really proud of is the fact that we ran a campaign centered on progressive ideas.”
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer has been elected as the New York City comptroller, the city’s chief financial officer.
The comptroller audits city agencies, analyzes the budget and invests city workers’ nearly $140 billion pension funds, among other responsibilities. Current officeholder John Liu ran unsuccessfully for mayor.
Stringer, a Democrat, defeated a handful of other party candidates, which was expected in a city where Democrats far outnumber all other political registrations.
The race for the citywide office is usually low-key but this year got a jolt of controversy when disgraced ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer threw his name into the ring. He lost in the Democratic primary in September.
Shromim founder and community activist Chaim Deutsch was victorious on Tuesay night as he won a city council seat in Brooklyn 48th district. He fought a close with opponent David Storobin, winning over 55% of the vote as opposed to 39.1% for Storobin
City council member David Greenfield was reelected in Brooklyn 44th council district, winning handily over his opponent
Governor Chris Christie, R-N.J., was re-elected as New Jersey governor in a landslide – 60-39 percent over his Democratic challenger, state Sen. Barbara Buono – and virtually no one ever thought the outcome might be different. For months, Christie held a commanding lead in the polls as Buono failed to get her campaign off the ground.
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