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New Yorkers Head to the Polls on Primary Day

By  Trevor Kapp Colby Hamilton and Aidan Gardiner | September 10, 2013 7:49am | Updated on September 10, 2013 3:17pm

 Voters get to weigh in on contested races up and down the ballot, from mayor to city council.
Voters Go to Polls on Primary Day
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NEW YORK CITY — New Yorkers headed to the polls for a chance to select Mayor Michael Bloomberg's successor and cast ballots in a host of other elections — even as broken voting machines across the city stalled their efforts.

Primary day hosted a series of elections, including the Democratic and Republican mayoral contests, Democratic races for city comptroller and public advocate, and various council races. Polls stay open until 9 p.m.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio held his lead among the Democratic mayoral contenders, with former front-runner Christine Quinn vying with ex-comptroller Bill Thompson for a robust second place.

If de Blasio or any other candidate fails to secure 40 percent of the Democratic vote, then they'll face the second-place finisher in an Oct. 1 runoff election.

De Blasio, who voted early Tuesday at a Park Slope library, at 431 Sixth Ave., said his campaign was prepared for a close race.

"Our team is energized and ready to finish strong today, and then we'll be up in the morning ready to go into the runoff," he said. "We are prepared for one and we feel very confident that we'll do well in the runoff."

Several voters at the same polling place said they cast their ballots for de Blasio because they felt he was more in touch with the public and would steer the city in a better direction.

"His sensibility is close to mine," said Kelli Murphy, a 56-year-old business administrator.

"He's very down to earth. A very cool guy."

Voters at a polling place on West 58th Street said they cast their ballot for Quinn because they liked her "record of being a pragmatist."

"She gets beat up by both sides, which is good," said Scott Allan, a 49-year-old who works for a risk management firm. "When you got everybody mad at you, you're trying to find the middle ground."

On the Republican side of the mayoral race, Joe Lhota consistently led polls coming into Tuesday's primary, although supermarket magnate John Catsimatidis has used his own fortune and growing party support to mount a serious challenge.

Democratic voters will also decide on a comptroller nominee. Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer made a last-minute entrance into the race, just days before petitions to get on the ballot were due.

Spitzer has touted his public service resume, but his opponent, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, has hit back by citing the prostitution scandal that prompted the former governor to resign in 2008.

Stringer voted at the Hargrave Senior Center on 71st Street with his family in tow.

"I'm excited for the possibilities of tonight, but it's been a very exciting campaign," Stringer said. "I'm feeling good."

"The best part of this is I got to vote with my son Max, which is actually something I was very excited about. It’s his first vote," he added.

Spitzer also said he was confident as he voted at P.S. 6 on East 81st Street, joking with other voters.

Additionally, voters in the Democratic primary will get to choose their candidate to replace out-going public advocate Bill de Blasio.

The crowded field includes Brooklyn Councilwoman Tish James, former attorney and deputy public advocate Reshma Saujani, Brooklyn State Senator Daniel Squadron and Columbia University professor Catherine Guerriero.

Voters in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens will also be looking to select new borough president nominees, and all 52 of the city’s council districts are up for grabs.

The general election will be held on Nov. 5.

With reporting by Mathew Katz and Alan Neuhauser.