Bill de Blasio Elected Mayor
PARK SLOPE — Bill de Blasio is New York's next mayor.
In an overwhelming victory over Republican Joe Lhota, de Blasio became the first Democrat elected mayor in 20 years, after running a campaign devoted to progressive values and promising to tackle what he called the "growing inequality" in the city.
De Blasio secured 73 percent of the vote compared to Lhota's 24 percent, based on 99 percent of the vote.
"Progressive changes won't happen overnight, but they will happen," de Blasio told a crowd of thousands of roaring supporters at the Park Slope Armory YMCA Tuesday night. "There will be many obstacles that stand in our way, but we will overcome them."
Standing alongside his beaming wife, Chirlane McCray, daughter, Chiara, and son, Dante, de Blasio pledged in his victory speech to fight for more affordable housing, ensure that hospitals stay open and tax the wealthy to pay for universal pre-kindergarten.
"When we call on the wealthiest among us to pay just a little bit more...we aren't threatening anyone's success," said de Blasio, the first Democratic mayor since David Dinkins was elected in 1989. "That's how we all rise together."
Lhota conceded to de Blasio in a brief speech to his supporters at the Gansevoort Park Avenue in Midtown about 9:45 p.m. While Lhota said he respected de Blasio and urged New Yorkers to offer their "good will" to the mayor-elect, Lhota also swiped at the Democrat's description of New York as "a tale of two cities."
"We are five boroughs, but we are one city, we are one people, and we want our city to move forward....not backward," Lhota said. "And I do hope our mayor-elect understands this before it is too late."
De Blasio struck a similar tone of unity in his speech — though he drew one of his biggest cheers for a subtle jab at outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
"I will never forget that as mayor, I work for you," de Blasio told the crowd.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a statement Tuesday evening congratulating the mayor-elect.
"[De Blasio] has the experience to run New York City, a compelling vision for its future and he and his family epitomize the New York story," Cuomo said. "As New York City’s next mayor, I know Bill will be a tremendous partner in moving this great city forward.”
De Blasio, the city's public advocate, entered the race in February as a long shot. He struggled early on to gain traction in the polls against better-known candidates such as City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and former Comptroller Bill Thompson, who was the Democratic nominee for mayor in 2009.
De Blasio’s prospects appeared to dwindle further in May, when former Rep. Anthony Weiner made a surprise entry into the race. By the end of June, de Blasio was languishing in a fourth-place tie with Thompson, each capturing the support of just 10 percent of those polled.
But through a combination of shrewd political maneuvering and a consistent campaign messaging, de Blasio found himself surging as primary day approached.
While repeating his criticism of Mayor Bloomberg's New York as "a tale of two cities," and slamming the NYPD's controversial stop-and-frisk tactic, de Blasio soared past his rivals, securing 40.8 percent of the vote in the September primary and avoiding a runoff with Thompson.
Lhota's campaign failed to take off, as he struggled to secure what could have been a natural base of support in the city’s business and real estate community. While Lhota tried to paint de Blasio as a radical leftist, de Blasio was able to assuage the concerns of many in the city's upper class.
Tuesday's vote saw scattered technical glitches as voters used the new ballot-scanning machines, and some voters also complained about the miniscule 6-point type on the paper ballots.
The Board of Elections promised to look into the issues and improve the system in the future.
Voters also decided several other contested races across the city:
► Democratic Borough President Scott Stringer won the city comptroller's race, beating Republican John Burnett 81 percent to 17 percent, with 99 percent of the results reported. Stringer defeated former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer in September to become the Democratic nominee.
► Brooklyn Councilwoman Letitia James easily won the contest to succeed de Blasio as public advocate, with 84 percent of the vote, based on 99 percent of the results.
► Democratic Councilwoman Gale Brewer is Manhattan's next borough president, after she secured nearly 83 percent of the vote, compared to Republican challenger David Casavis' 17 percent, based on 99 percent of the results Tuesday evening.
► Republican Councilman James Oddo won the Staten Island borough president's race with 69 percent of the vote, beating Democrat Louis Liedy, who got 30 percent, according to 100 percent of the results.