Times Ledger Staff
Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio swept to a resounding victory over Republican Joe Lhota Tuesday as New Yorkers voted for a shift toward progressive policies after 12 years of the Bloomberg administration.
De Blasio, who ran a highly successful campaign based on the theme of “A Tale of Two Cities,” tapped into voters’ opposition to the policing policy of stop-and-frisk and strong support for taxing the super rich, among other issues.
Lhota, the former MTA chairman and top aide to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, backed the controversial police tactic and warned voters that de Blasio as mayor would return the city to the days of rampant crime.
Associated Press projected de Blasio as the winner at 9:51 p.m. – less than an hour after the polls closed.
In his victory speech before at least 1,000 supporters in his home borough of Brooklyn, de Blasio reiterated his belief that the city must leave no New Yorker behind.
“We have no illusion – tackling inequality isn’t easy, “ he said. “The challenges we face have been decades in the making.”
He added, “Make no mistake. The people of the city have chosen a progressive path. Tonight we set forth on it as one city.”
Lohta, who conceded about 45 minutes after the polls closed, told his supporters “despite what you may have heard we are one city”
To cheers from the audience, he went on to say “we are five boroughs but we are one city.”
But he warned that “I do hope our mayor-elect understands this before it is too late.”
With 27 percent of the vote counted, de Blasio had a commanding lead of 72.9 percent over Lhota’s 24.8 percent, according to preliminary results from the AP.
De Blasio’s victory ended 20 consecutive years of Republican leadership in the top office at City Hall.
In the race for city comptroller, Scott Stringer captured the lion’s share of votes after scoring a hard-won victory in the Democratic primary against former Gov. Eliot Spitzer. Republican John Burnett got 17.6 percent with 27 percent of the returns in, according to AP. There were four other candidates in the race who picked up small percentages of the vote.
Stringer told his victory party that he endorsed “a politics that speaks to everybody.”
Referring to the divide between the rich and the poor in New York, Stringer said “our job in this new government is to lift everyone up…to become an inspirational city.”
Letitia James won the public advocate’s office after defeating fellow Democrat Daniel Squadron in a special run-off election. She did not have a Republican opponent but faced a field of seven challenger from smaller parties who attracted a small percentage of the ballots cast in the general election. James had drawn nearly 83 percent of the vote with 27 percent of the ballots tallied, AP said.