NEW YORK CITY — After a short but bruising contest, Scott Stringer declared victory Tuesday night in a tight race for city comptroller.
Stringer claimed victory with 52 percent of the vote to Spitzer's 48, with 96 of precincts reporting.
"The people of this city want to have a government that represents them and we're going to make sure that happens," Stringer said in a speech to supporters in the Flatiron District. "We're going to work together, all of us, to bring fundamental change."
Spitzer offered a quick concession, recounting his years spent as an elected official.
"I have been honored to serve, I have been honored to be assistant district attorney, attorney general and governor," he said during a speech to supporters Harlem. "For me, politics was never a profession, it was a cause. It was a calling to serve and to try to serve to fight for those issues we believe in."
In the early stages of the race, Stringer appeared to have an easy path to victory. When he bowed out of the mayoral race late last year, the field of potential candidates for comptroller disappeared, making Stringer the sole Democratic option.
All that changed shortly after the Fourth of July, when Spitzer announced he would enter the race. During a weeklong sprint, Spitzer’s self-funded campaign was able to collect enough signatures to secure a place on the primary ballot.
The suddenly competitive campaign quickly turned negative as Stringer, who almost immediately found himself down by double digits in the polls, aggressively challenged Spitzer’s record in Albany, never failing to hint at the prostitution scandal that caused Spitzer to resign as governor in March 2008.
During a series of debates, Spitzer defended himself, asking voters to look at his track record as the "Sheriff of Wall Street" rather than at his past indiscretions.
Meanwhile, Spitzer cast Stringer as the candidate of the establishment, a onetime member of the dysfunctional state Legislature in Albany and an accessory to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s push to overturn term limits in 2008.
As the election neared, voters and editorial boards started tuning in to a campaign marked by unrelentingly negative attacks by the candidates. As Stringer began to rack up newspaper endorsements, his poll numbers started to rise.
Stringer’s victory comes after the contest narrowed to a virtual tie in the polls heading into Election Day.
Stringer will now go on to face Republican nominee John Burnett, who won Tuesday in an uncontested primary.
The general election will be held Nov. 5.