De Blasio Wins Democratic Primary for NYC Mayor

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio talks to the press after voting in the Democratic primary, Tuesday, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday handily defeated a little-known field of challengers to win the sparsely attended Democratic mayoral primary as he continued his quest for a second term as the leader of the country’s largest city.

With more than 90 percent of precincts reporting, de Blasio had more than 74 percent of the vote. He had been considered the easy favorite against Sal Albanese, Richard Bashner, Robert Gangi and Michael Tolkin, none of whom had his organizing power or financial muscle.

Only about 10 percent of voters showed up at the ballot box. One Boro Park man said he voted close to the 9 p.m. deadline and was just number 48.

“There were a dozen poll workers there,” the man said. “A worker for every four voters.”

De Blasio goes on to face Republican Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis of Staten Island and independent candidate Bo Dietl, a private detective, in November’s general election.

In his acceptance speech, de Blasio renewed a promise, made before his first term, to make New York more hospitable to people feeling squeezed out in a city with a huge gap between rich and poor.

“I’m not going to stop until we build that fairer city for every New Yorker,” he said.

Albanese, his closest rival, noted the campaign isn’t finished because he’ll be on the ballot in the general election as a Reform Party candidate.

“When you are up against a mountain of special interest money, it is tough to compete,” he said.

New York held primaries statewide Tuesday for other local offices.

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, who stepped into the role when his predecessor took ill and later died, won the Democratic primary election for that job. He had more than half the votes with almost 90 percent of precincts reporting against five other candidates.

One City Council race in Boro Park attracted attention because a state assemblyman was challenging an incumbent who had made fiercely anti-Israel comments. But Councilman Carlos Menchaca eked out a win against Assemblyman Felix Ortiz and several others in the Democratic primary.

Councilman Chaim Deutsch of Midwood won his Democratic primary over Marat Filler.

In Bay Ridge, Khader El Yateem lost the primary to Justin Brannan, a Democratic activist. El Yateem, a Palestinian-American, had openly called for a boycott of Israel and was vocally backed by Linda Sarsour, a founder of the Women’s March.

In Rockland County, Republican Ed Day got his party’s nod for reelection and was declared the winner of the Reform and Conservative party primaries. But absentee ballots have yet to be counted and the difference between him and his Conservative party challenger, Thomas Sullivan, is 54 votes.

Jewish activists had sent out a series of robocalls asking the community to deny Day the party slots by voting for Sullivan on the Conservative line and putting in any name on the Reform ballot.

In the Upper West Side Councilman Mark Levine handily won against an opponent who ran on a platform of bigotry and anti-Semitism. Levine, who is widely seen as a frontrunner to become council speaker next year, took 75 percent of the vote against Thomas Lopez-Pierre.

Lopez-Pierre made news earlier this year when he accused Levine of being in the service of “greedy Jewish landlords” whom he compared to “builders of concentration camps.”

“Despite spending nearly $100,000 in campaign finance matching funds,” Levine said in a statement Wednesday, “my opponent’s vitriolic propaganda was unequivocally rejected by the Upper Manhattan community last night.”

Another council race making news was in Queens, where Hiram Monserrate, a former councilman and state lawmaker who was expelled from the state Senate after he was convicted of assault, sought his old seat. Monserrate, who later served nearly two years in prison after pleading guilty to fraud and corruption charges in a separate case, lost to Assemblyman Francisco Moya in the Democratic primary.

The winners move on to the November general election.

And on Long Island, Nassau County Democrats decided the county executive primary matchup in favor of Laura Curran over George Maragos. Republican Jack Martins, a former state senator, will be on the November ballot. Incumbent Ed Mangano, a Republican under federal indictment in a case in which he’s alleged to have taken bribes, is not seeking another term. Mangano has pleaded not guilty.

Most party primaries in New York state are closed contests, meaning a voter must be a registered member of the party in order to cast a ballot.

With reporting by The Associated Press.

Updated Wednesday, September 13, 2017 at 6:20 pm