Liu wins comptroller runoff amid low turnout

Liu wins comptroller runoff amid low turnout
City Councilman John Liu emerges from the voting booth at St. John Vianney in Flushing as wife Jenny looks on. Photo by Christina Santucci
By Nathan Duke

Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing) defeated Councilman David Yassky (D-Brooklyn) in the run-off election Tuesday to determine who would take the Democratic slot in the Nov. 3 race to replace city Comptroller William Thompson.

Liu captured 55.6 percent of the vote in the run-off, while Yassky took 44.4 percent of the light turnout, according to unofficial election results.

“I’m deeply honored to stand before you tonight to accept the Democratic nomination for city comptroller,” Liu said during his acceptance speech. “We had a cross-section of support from New Yorkers. We won this election in the streets.”

Now Liu will face-off against Republican challenger Joseph Mendola in November’s general election. If elected, Liu would become the first Asian American to hold a citywide office.

Thompson, who was first elected as comptroller in 2001, is running against Michael Bloomberg in this year’s mayoral race.

In the run-off election for the city’s public advocate, Councilman Bill de Blasio (D-Brooklyn) drew 62.5 percent of the vote, beating back Mark Green, who had held the post from 1993 to 2001 and made an unsuccessful run for mayor in 2001. Green garnered 37.5 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s election.

“I want to thank the people of this city for their faith in me,” de Blasio said after he was declared the winner. “I’ve had the honor of being in public service in this city for 20 years. New Yorkers stand by each other. We are a compassionate city, an extraordinary experiment in democracy.”

De Blasio will face Republican Alex Zablocki in the November election. Incumbent Betsy Gotbaum declined to run for a third term.

A total of 228,888 votes were cast in the comptroller race, while 221,977 votes were cast in the public advocate race, according to the city Board of Elections.

The elections were held this week because none of the candidates running in the Democratic primary for comptroller andpublic advocate was able to win 40 percent of the vote.

Turnout in Queens for the run-off election was sporadic throughout the day, poll workers in Flushing and Bayside said.

“It’s been very, very light,” said Rich Allen, site coordinator at the Latimer House Community Center’s poll on 137th Street in Flushing.

Allen said a total of 150 people had voted all day as of 6:45 p.m, while coordinator Frank Albaneze said he had only seen half of the usual number of voters at the Flushing House Adult Residences on Bowne Street.

Poll workers at both the Taiwan Center on Northern Boulevard in Flushing and MS 158 in Bayside said few voters had shown up to vote. MS 158’s poll workers said no more than 100 people had voted as of 3:30 p.m.

Joanne Trikas, a poll coordinator at Bayside’s PS 41, said it had been a quiet day at her polling site.

“It’s been a light turnout,” she said around 3 p.m. “I expect some more after dinner.”

None of the workers at the polls could say whether there had been any mobilization among the Asian-American community for Liu.

Liu has served two terms as Flushing’s councilman and formerly worked as an actuary with PriceWaterhouseCooper – experience he touted in his bid to capture the top financial post in the city. He has also served as the City Council Transportation Committee chairman for the last several years.

Yassky, meanwhile, has been the chairman of the Council’s Small Business Committee since shortly after taking office in 2001. He also served in the city budget office and worked for U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) prior to that.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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