Bill de Blasio won the race Tuesday to become New York City’s 109th mayor with a margin of victory unseen in city history, as voters seized on his unabashedly liberal call for a progressive future to make him the first Brooklynite to lead the city in nearly a half century.
“No illusions about the task that lies ahead,” de Blasio said as preliminary results showed him winning by an unprecedented 45 percent, beating the previous record set by Mayor Abe Beame in the 1970s. “…But the people of New York City have chosen a progressive path.”
De Blasio took 71 percent to Republican Joe Lhota’s 26 percent, in line with predictions in the polls. He was the first Democrat to wrest away control from the 20-year Republican reign of Guiliani and Bloomberg in a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans 6 to 1, by promising to combat the “tale of two New Yorks”
Saying that he “fought the good fight,” Republican Joe Lhota, who never polled above 30 percent since his victory in the sleepy Republican primary, called on his supporters to give de Blasio their “goodwill,” even as he reminded people of his campaign warning about a rise in crime if his rival were to win.
“Despite what you might have heard, we are all one city,” Lhota said. “We want our city to move forward and not backward, and I hope our mayor-elect understands that before it’s too late.”
De Blasio alluded to his humble beginnings when polls showed him trailing throughout much of the primary as he thanked those who stood by him, “even when the polls didn’t look so hot.”
De Blasio’s victory was breathtaking, winning across every demographic, age group and even income bracket. He won the Jewish vote, although by a more modest 57 percent to Lhota’s 40 percent.
One by one, the trio of officials who promised to remake the city into one more attentive to the needs of the poor at the expense of the rich gave their victory speeches, as they waited for de Blasio to emerge to his victory party.
Comptroller-elect Scott Stringer and Public Advocate-elect Letitia James, both Democrats who crushed little-known opponents, said they were looking forward to working with de Blasio “to make sure government works for the working people again,” as James, a Flatbush councilwoman, said in her victory speech.
Stringer said that with him, James and de Blasio at the helm, “we have an opportunity to chart a new course for New York.”