Bill de Blasio edged closer to his victory in the hotly contested Democratic primary for New York City mayoral election on Tuesday, September 10. The Public Advocate had secured 40 percent of the vote with 96 percent of the precincts reporting the results. His nearest competitor was former New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson with 26 percent votes. Despite the wide margin between his and Blasio’s votes, Thompson still sounded optimistic and told cheering supporters that thousands of votes were yet to be counted and they could still pull a victory.
Blasio’s lead does not guarantee him to be the Democratic nominee to contest against Republican rival for the New York City mayor as New York Board of Elections will recount the votes on Friday (September 13) while the postal ballots counting could take days to finalize the results. Blasio needs 40 percent or more of the total votes cast to win the nomination and avoid a runoff on October 1st.
The biggest loser of the night was New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who for long was considered a favorite, came third with meager 15.5 percent votes. Quinn would have become the first openly lesbian New York City mayor if she had won the election.
Does the defeat means end to Quinn’s political career? Not really. Many analysts still hope Quinn will remain a powerful voice in New York City’s politics in the days to come.
On the Republican side, Joe Lhota, the former Chairman of Metropolitan Transportation Authority, won the Republican nomination, winning 52 percent of the vote. His nearest rival was John Catsimatidis who won 40 percent of the vote. Catsimatidis, a billionaire, spent 3 million dollars from his personal fortune on his ambitious election campaign.
The other highlights of the primary night included the defeat of former New York State Governor Eliot Spitzer at the hands of Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. Spitzer spent 10 million dollars on his campaign.
Another major upset of the night was the defeat of Brooklyn Borough’s six-term District Attorney Charles J. Hynes at the hands of a young attorney Kenneth P. Thompson.
New York City will elect the next mayor to replace Michael Bloomberg on November 7. Blasio is considered a progressive pro-immigrant reformist. He ran his campaign on promises such as ending the New York Police Department’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy, more taxes on the rich and improving the city’s education system.